The name “Boise” is thought to come from early mountain men who named the Boise River that runs through the area. The French-Canadian fur trappers found an oasis near the river lined with cottonwood trees and they called this “La rivière boisée”, which means “the wooded river.” Boise is the capita of Idaho and the state’s most populous city. As the county seat of Ada County, Boise is located on the Boise River in the southwestern region of the state. According to the last census report, there are 206,000 people living in Boise Idaho. The U.S. Army established a fort in the area during the Civil War. The Idaho City and Silver City mining areas were booming in the mid-1800s and Fort Boise grew rapidly. After the creation of Montana Territory, the city was made the territorial capital of Idaho and 210 Main Street was formed in 1871; which is a National Historic Landmark today. In 2015 alone, there were 1,123 drug violations here, according to data from the Boise Police Department Statistical Summary
Located in Ada County, Meridian, ID has a population of 91,000 and is the state’s fastest-growing city; with an 81% population increase since 2000. Based on census data, the city is 92% white, 1% African-American, 2% Asian, and 5% “other” or “two or more races.” Meridian is family-oriented, with 48% of households reporting having children in them. The average household size is 2.96, and the average family unit is 3.33. Blue Cross of Idaho is based in Meridian, and the largest employer here is Scentsy, a candle warmer company. From 2007 through 2009, there were 139 overdose deaths in Ada County. According to a recent report from the Division of Health Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, 95% of Idaho drug-induced deaths occurred in Ada County. The rate of overdose fatalities was 10 per 100,000 population. In addition, most deaths occurred in the 45 to 54 year age group. Incidentally, 60% of drug-induced deaths were attributed to “accidental overdose.”
The largest city in Canyon County Idaho is Nampa. Around 82,000 people reside in Nampa, making it the third-most populous city of this state. Located 20 miles west of Boise, Nampa is part of the Boise-Nampa Metropolitan Area. The name “Nampa” is thought to be derived from a Shoshoni word meaning footprint or moccasin. In 2015, WalletHub ranked Nampa number one among the nation’s 150 largest cities in terms of budge per capita. Nampa, ID is home to Northwest Nazarene University, College of Western Idaho, 15 elementary schools, 4 middle schools, and 4 high schools. Based on census data, the racial makeup of this city is 83% white, 1% African-American, 1.2% Native American, 1% Asian, and 18% “other races”, “two or more races,” or Hispanic/Latino.
A local news station, KLS reports that police are now carrying Narcan, a drug used to reduce heroin and opioid overdoses. The Nampa Police Department is using Narcan to treat people who are suffering from a potential heroin or opioid overdose. Police officers are often the first to arrive on a scene and will now have the experience and antidote to administer in time to save person’s life. According to the Prescription Drug Abuse: Strategies to Stop the Epidemic report, Idaho overdose deaths have doubled since 1999, with a rate of 11 per 100,000 persons.
Idaho Falls is home to 123,000 people and serves as a regional hub for business, travel and health care in eastern Idaho. The city’s economy used to be mostly agriculture until the National Reactor Testing Station opened in the desert west region in 1949. Many residents found high-income jobs with the Idaho National Laboratory, called “The Site” by locals. After cutbacks in 1993, the town added many call centers, restaurants, and a regional medical center. Named on the 2010 Business Week’s list of “Best Places to Raise Kids,” Idaho Falls has become a regional business hub. Home to the United Potato Growers of Idaho and the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, the median home price here is $225,000. Additionally, the unemployment rate in Idaho Falls Idaho is only 3%. According to a report by SAMHSA, Idaho ranked 4th in nonmedical use of prescription opioids during 2010. The research study found that 16% of Idaho high school students admitted to taking a prescription drug without a doctor’s recommendation. One study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 86 per 100 people received a prescription in this state. Additionally, around 6,750 people are arrested every year in Idaho for drug offenses.
The county seat of Bannock County is Pocatello, ID. A small portion of the Fort Hall Indian Reservation is here. Pocatello has a population of 57,000 people and is the fifth largest Idaho city. Forbes listed Pocatello on its 2007 “Best Small Places for Business and Careers” list. Home to Idaho State University, the city is served by Pocatello Regional Airport. Founded as a railroad stop during the gold rush, Pocatello later became an important agriculture center. Located along the Portneuf River and Oregon Trail, the city is named after Shoshoni tribal Chief Pocatello, who granted right-of-way to travelers. Before the arrival of Europeans in the early 1900s, the region was home to the Bannock and Shoshoni peoples for many centuries. Important federal and state facilities in Pocatello include the Pocatello Women’s Correctional Center, the United States Postal Service Gateway Station office, and the Federal Bureau of Investigations.
In 2010, there were four heroin-related deaths in a 10-day timespan, which was not the usual, according to the Police Department. The Idaho State Department reported that opioids were a leading cause of death for many U.S. cities like Pocatello. Nationally, the increase is related to the growing number of people receiving and become addicted to prescription painkiller pills. According to the recent Pocatello news report, smoking heroin is as popular as injecting it in this city.
The county seat of Canyon County Idaho is Caldwell; with a population of 47,000. Considered part of the Boise Metropolitan Statistical Area, Caldwell is home to the College of Western Idaho and College of Idaho. Gold was discovered in the Idaho mountains during the Civil War and this brought a variety of new settlers to the region. Many setters chose to reside along the Boise River and work on ferries, stage stations and freighting businesses. Caldwell was named after Robert E. Strahorn’s business partner, Alexander Caldwell, who was a former State of Kansas Senator. Strahorn came to the area in 1883 to select a railroad route. He chose the area of Caldwell and drove a stake into an alkali flat of sagebrush and greasewood. The city was incorporated in 1890 and the Oregon Short Line Railroad became part of the Union Pacific network. This helped establish Caldwell Freight and Passenger Depot. Today, the city has 10 city parks, a golf course and a skatepark. A recent news report by the Idaho Statesman found that members of a large methamphetamine drug ring were arrested and charged with conspiracy, possession and intent to distribute methamphetamine. During this bust, 10 pounds of the deadly drug was confiscated.
Coeur d’Alene is the county seat of Kootenai County Idaho. It is home to 44,137 people and located 30 miles east of Spokane, Washington. The largest city of the northern Idaho Panhandle, the city is situated on the north shore of Lake Coeur d’Alene, which gives it the name of “Lake City.” The city is named after the Coeur d’Alene people, a federally recognized Native American tribe who lived along the lake in the 18th and 19th century. Today, the racial makeup includes 94% white, 1% African-American, 1% Native American, 1% Asian and 3% “other” or “two or more” races. Of the 18,400 households, 30% have children in them under age 18 years. The average family size is 2.92, and the median age in Coeur d’Alene is 35.4 years. A Wyoming News report cited the ‘heroin tsunami’ that is sweeping Idaho. In Kootenai County, teens are using the deadly opioid drug. Police officials cite the rise of heroin abuse due to the drug’s intense euphoria and cheaper alternative to opioid prescription medicines. Around 40 grams of black tar heroin will sell for $22,000 on the streets and local law enforcement has seen the number of heroin users grow dramatically during the last few years. In the Kootenai County region, heroin has surpassed methamphetamine (meth) and marijuana (weed or pot) as the drug of choice for many residents. Unfortunately, there have been many recent heroin-related deaths in this area.
Twin Falls, ID is the county seat of Twin Falls County. With a population of 44,000, the city is the largest of Idaho’s Magic Valley region. Located on a broad plain, Twin Falls is the site where Evel Knievel attempted to jump the Snake River Canyon in 1974. The unemployment rate of the city is steadily declining and is stable at 9.5%. The economy here involves Glanbia Foods, a division of the Irish food company Glanbia PLC. Falls Brand is also located in Twin Falls and it employs many local residents. Other large employers include The College of Southern Idaho, Amalgamated Sugar Company, Lamb Weston and a new Walmart Supercenter. In Idaho, one person died every 39 hours from drugs in 2013 alone. The drug-induced overdose fatality rate has tripled since 2000. The rise has been attributed to the increase in prescription drug abuse, according to the Community Coalitions of Idaho.
Home to 32,000 people, Lewiston, Idaho is the county seat of Nez Perce County. Located at the confluence of Clearwater River and Snake River, Lewiston is 30 miles southeast of the Lower Granite Dam. Being the farthest inland port east of the West Coast, Lewiston is reachable by some ocean vessels. Founded in 1861 in the wake of the gold rush, Lewiston became the first capital of the Idaho Territory. However, the capital moved to Boise in 1864. Some of the employers of Lewiston include the Lewis-Clark State College, agriculture, and manufacturing. Based on a 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 1,760 high school students in Idaho responded about drug and alcohol use. The study found that 28% of people drank alcohol during the last month, 22% sold or were given illegal drugs on school property during the last 12 months and 17% used marijuana in the last 30 days.
Post Falls, ID is a city in Kootenai County between Coeur d’Alene and Spokane Washington. With 30,000 residents, Post Falls population has increased by 13,000 since 2000. The city is named after Frederick Post, a lumber mill owner and German immigrant. He purchased land in 1871 along the Spokane River and this land is preserved in a pictograph on a granite cliff in Treaty Rock park. Kootenai used to be a timber-based economy but manufacturing has increased in the area, including electronics and furniture production. Other employers here include a private surgical hospital, Sysco Foods, and ALK Source Materials, a Danish pharmaceutical company. A 2017 report by KHQ News cited legislation designed to combat heroin and prescription opioid addiction in Idaho. The rate of drug overdose deaths has increased by 63% in Idaho from 2006 to 2014. There were 1,544 deaths during an 8-year time span in this state alone. The House Judiciary, Rules, and Administration Committee agreed to send this proposal to a hearing that is not yet scheduled.