Indiana Abuse, Treatment and Drug Recovery

Gary Indiana

The story of drugs and crime in Indiana starts in Gary in the northern part of the state. In the early 20th century, the city was founded by U.S. Steel to house the tens of thousands of workers at their plant located on Lake Michigan. Through the next several decades, the city and the factories prospered—until international competitors in steel manufacturing began to divert business away from U.S. Steel.

Gradually, the steel business declined. Employees were laid off—20,000 of them. Many people moved away from the area to find jobs elsewhere. Parts of Gary, Indiana became abandoned and remained abandoned for decades.

Gary’s Business Decline Made Room for Drug Crime

As the businesses and employees moved away, crime driven by drug trafficking and distribution moved in. Mexican drug trafficking organizations established channels from Mexico, across the border and into the Chicago area. Semis loaded with marijuana and cocaine come up the Interstates from the Southwestern U.S. and unload into warehouses or other locations.

Indiana gang members associated to greater or lesser degrees with Chicago gangs take over the retail distribution of these drugs and smaller amounts of heroin, methamphetamine, and Ecstasy. The strength of these associations was recently increased when many public housing projects in Chicago were razed. Many of the gang members formerly operating out of these projects relocated to Gary.

In 1993, Gary, Indiana had the highest murder rate in the entire United States. It no longer holds that title but is still considered by many to be a violent and dangerous city. Drug dealers fight to protect their stocks and their territories. Besides dealing in drugs, many gang members also deal in guns, providing arms to gang members in the Chicago area.

Substance Abuse and Addiction Figures Higher in the Northwest than Rest of State

Understandably, statistics for addiction and treatment in Lake County and surrounding counties are higher than statistics in the remaining Indiana counties which are largely rural. For example, in 2008, state agencies reported that twelfth-grade students in the region report higher levels of drug use than any other students across the state.

man smoking marijuana

Of those going through substance abuse addiction treatment in Lake County, 42 percent were treated for marijuana addiction, 31 percent for cocaine (including crack), 22 percent for heroin and about 1 percent for methamphetamine. While marijuana provides the greatest quantity of addicts that get treated, those who abuse cocaine and heroin create greater threats to society because these drugs are more deeply addictive, harder to treat and are more often associated with property and violent crime.

Alcohol Creates Far More Addicts than Other Drugs

While it’s cocaine, heroin, and marijuana that make the news, alcohol sends far more people to substance abuse treatment. In 2008, 9,000 Indianans went into alcohol addiction treatment, about half for alcoholism alone, and half for poly-drug addiction: alcohol with a secondary drug. For comparison, 4,700 people addicted to marijuana entered rehab centers, about 2,000 for heroin or other opiates, and about 1,800 for cocaine and crack cocaine.

Still, there are huge numbers of addicts and alcoholics in Indiana who are not getting the drug recovery help that they need. In 2007, more than 100,000 people needed drug abuse treatment and did not get it. And of those who admitted that they needed alcohol abuse treatment, nearly 350,000 didn’t get it. This leaves hundreds of thousands of addicted people in homes or on the streets, without hope.

Drug Recovery Programs Fail for Too Many

Unfortunately, those who find drug recovery help in Indiana will be disappointed if they fall back into their habit of drinking or abusing drugs again once they are through the substance abuse treatment. At Narconon drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers across the country, many people arriving for the residential treatment program tell stories of five, ten, even twenty earlier efforts at drug recovery.

The unique drug recovery program at Narconon. By addressing the reasons the addicts started using drugs and helping them rebuild their lives from the ground up with new values, improved family relationships, and eliminated cravings, the Narconon rehabilitation centers enable those who may have lost everything to drugs or alcohol to start winning again.

Sign up free to receive our email newsletter: