Kansas law enforcement has seen an increase in crimes related to methamphetamine use over the past few years. In 2016, there was an 11 percent increase in crimes related to meth use and addiction. That percentage increased to 18.5 in 2020. As of the first quarter of 2021, 70 percent of all drug crimes in Sedgwick County involve methamphetamine, according to Sheriff Jeff Easter.
How Meth and Crime Go Hand-In-Hand
An increase in methamphetamine use can be attributed to two characteristics of the substance: it is cheap and accessible. Those under the influence of the drug can end up experiencing a three-to-15-day period of insomnia, anxiety, and paranoia. Other symptoms can occur at the end of a large drug binge and can lead to hallucinations or violent behavior.
One possible explanation for the recent increase in violent behavior could be related to the escalating number of meth users in the area. The homicide rate has increased in Sedgwick County, with 118 murders reported, many of which resulted from drug abuse.
There is another issue that goes alongside the crime rate: the increase in drug-related deaths. As methamphetamine use increases, so has the number of people who have died from overdosing on the drug. The Substance Abuse Center of Kansas has recently seen more people coming in for help, and about 70% of those who do come in are trying to detox from meth. Unfortunately, the Substance Abuse Centers of Kansas do not have the capacity to treat everyone, and some are put on a 3-4 month waitlist.
Governor Laura Kelly has provided a $6 million budget to remodel Lancing Prison to add another 240 beds for inmates, a majority of whom suffer from drug addiction.
The governor herself has spoken out about how prison sentences are not the answer but that currently, Kansas is running out of options and has to prioritize the public’s safety in regards to the increase of violence. Their goal is to remove repeat offenders from the streets to try and decrease the crime rate.
“Drug addiction is a disease, but individuals who use drugs should be aware of the health and legal consequences,” says lawyer Tom Addair of Addair Law. “If an individual is found to have a significant amount of a controlled dangerous substance in their possession, for example, 1 gram of methamphetamine, it can result in jail time. If you or someone you know is abusing drugs, it is best to get them help before they hurt themselves or others.”
There are benefits to seeking help from Substance Abuse Centers as it can be harmful to go through detox and withdrawal without proper professional help.
Currently, the Substance Abuse Center of Kansas hosts 15 beds for people to stay to detox from the drug properly. In August 2021, they plan to put another 40 beds in place by August 2021.
The 15 beds are currently filled every day, with separate spaces for men and women suffering from meth addiction. While there is almost always room for female addicts, male addicts may have to wait two to three months to get proper treatment at their center. This wait time can enable those trying to heal to return to their drug of choice.
In the United States, there are nearly 50,000 people in prison for drug possession. By implementing measures that treat addiction and help individuals on the road to recovery, we can hope to see these numbers decrease over time.
Hemant Kumar is a project manager at Tridindia with more than nine years of commendable experience in writing about LMS, translation, and IT. His unmatched talent and passion for digital marketing gave him the opportunity to work as a multi-tasking project manager at TridIndia’s sister company, Link Building Corp. Today, he contributes to the world by imparting knowledge on SEO, link building and internet marketing etc., that helps business owners grow their online business.