CASPER, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) Substance abuse-related crimes are down nearly 20 percent in Wyoming over nearly a decade.
The Wyoming Association of Sheriffs and Chiefs of Police released a report showing 82.01 percent of arrests in the state in 2010 involved alcohol and other drugs. In 2018, the number was 62.97 percent.
Between 2011 and 2018, the total number of people booked into county detention facilities also decreased. In 2011, 17,555 people were booked in a county jail. In 2018, that number was 12,366 people.
The report said the decline in substance-related arrests was due to fewer alcohol-related incidents.
Despite decreases in the number of alcohol-related incidents, the percentage of drunk driving arrests stayed fairly consistent between 2014 and 2018. Though the numbers slightly fluctuated year-to-year, DUI arrests account for 26 percent to 28 percent of bookings, leading the state each year.
“DUI is really the driving crime in Wyoming. Alcohol is related to 60 to 80 percent of the arrests we do but the crime of DUI and the deaths that it causes and the fatalities that occur and the injuries from that is really what drives most of the crime in Wyoming,” said Rich Adriaens, co-chair of the Governor’s Council on Impaired Driving.
Adriaens is also the Sheridan Police Chief.
The council, which then Wyoming Governor Matt Mead started in 2011, tries to find ways to curtail drunk driving.
“The purpose of the council is to have a multifaceted approach toward substance abuse and specifically drunk driving in Wyoming,” Adriaens said. “We’re made up of a bunch of folks from different lines of work, civilians, prevention folks and cops like myself.”