Wichita is the largest city in Kansas and it is located in the south-central region of the state. The county seat of Sedgwick County, Wichita, KS is positioned along the Arkansas River. With a population of 390,000, the Wichita-Winfield Metropolitan Area is home to 645,000 residents. The city began in 1860 as a trading post along the Chisholm Trail. After being incorporated in 1870, the town was a key destination for cattle drives traveling north from Texas, which earned it the nickname of “Cowtown.” There are many aircraft manufacturing companies in Wichita, including Cessna, Beechcraft and Stearman Aircraft. Transformed as the “Air Capital of the World,” Wichita is also home to Spirit AeroSystems, Learjet and Airbus. A report by KWCH
cited in February of 2017 two people forced themselves through a drive-thru window and stole prescription drugs around 1:30 in the morning. This happened at an East Wichita Walgreens drug store. The opioid epidemic has taken a toll on Sedgwick County, with the number of deaths from heroin increasing from 3 in 2011 to 21 in 2015. The officials believe that heroin abuse begins from prescription painkiller addiction.
Overland Park was founded with the arrival of William B. Strang Jr. in the 600-acre area in 1905. Strang purchase the subdivisions of land that was later named Overland Park. This city was the site of the first airplane flight by the Wright brothers. Overland Park was incorporated in 1960 as a “first class city”. By 1995, the population had grown to 173,000. Of the 71,400 households in Overland Park, 31% have children age 18 and younger in them. The average family size in the city is 3.04 and there are 52 females to every 48 males here. With only 5% of the population living below the poverty line, the average family income in Oakland Park, KS is $93,300. Selling drugs here and other Kansas cities now can lead to homicide charges, as reported by the Kansas City Star. In 2016, a local man was arrested for distribution of drugs that resulted in death and he was found to be in possession of heroin, prescription opioid drugs, and benzodiazepines.
Kansas City is the third largest Kansas city and the county seat of Wyandotte County. Based on the U.S. census, 146,000 people live in this city, which is at the junction of the Kansas and Missouri rivers (Kaw Point). It is a family town, with 37% of households having children in them. The racial composition involves 52% White, 27% African-American, 3% Asian, 13% Hispanic, and 5% “other.” Additionally, the average family size is 3.3. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 239,000 people in Kansas City use an illicit drug during the past 12 months. This report also found that the rate of 13% is lower than the 14.7% national average rate for the U.S. Also, around 10% of people admitted to using marijuana in the last year, and 5% took some type of opioid pain reliever for non-medical reasons. In the city, 157,000 people were classified as having a substance use disorder.
Founded by Dr. John Barton in 1857 when he rode to the center of Johnson County and staked two quarter sections of land, Olathe was incorporated as a city in 1857. The doctor described the land as “beautiful”, which his Shawnee interpreter said was “olathe.” The city’s early days were pro-slavery, with violence from residents of nearby Missouri clashing with local abolitionists. Because of this fighting, the conflicts gave the area the name of ‘Bleeding Kansas.’ After Kansas became a free state in 1861, it was admitted to the Union and the violence lessened. However, Olathe, KS was a military post during the Civil War and it was raided by Quantrill. The Kansas militia occupied the Olathe military post, which was threatened by Confederates. In addition, the city served as a stop along the California Trail, the Oregon Trail and the Santa Fe Trail. Today, 126,000 people live in Olathe, Kansas. In 2014, Olathe-based business owners were arrested for producing and selling dangerous controlled substances that were analogues of THC (marijuana) and methcathinones (stimulants), according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office Kansas Division. The charges included conspiracy with the intent to distribute controlled substances, money laundering and possession.
The city capital of Kansas is Topeka. In addition, Topeka is also the county seat of Shawnee County. Situated along the Kansas River in the northeast region of the state, the city has 128,000 residents. The word “topeka” comes from a Kansa-Osage sentence that means “the place where we dug potatoes.” Topeka was laid out in 1854 as one of the Free-State towns founded by antislavery Eastern men. The median family income is $46,000 and only 8.5% of people live below the poverty line. The female-to-male ratio is 100:88. In Topeka, the average family size is 2.94, and 52,200 households, 28% of them have children under age of 18 living there. A report by WIBW cited that drug overdose/poisonings had increased in Kansas 122% since 2000. The 2015 figures show that more people in Kansas died from drug-related poisonings than motor vehicle accidents and firearms combined. The rate is due to opioid and heroin use in cities such as Topeka.
The county seat of Douglas County is Lawrence, which is located in Northeastern Kansas along the banks of the Wakarusa and Kansas Rivers. Lawrence is a college town, home to Haskell Indian Nations University and the University of Kansas. Founded by the New England Emigrant Aid Company, Lawrence was named for Amos Lawrence, who offered financial support for the settlement. Lawrence, KS was central to the “Bleeding Kansas” era, being the site of the Lawrence Massacre and Wakarusa War. According to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, 320 Kansas residents died in 2011 as a result of poisoning. Of these deaths, 93 were from opioid analgesic overdose. Hospitalizations due to drug poisonings have increased in Kansas threefold since 1999.
Shawnee has a population of 62,200 and it is located in Johnson County Kansas. Shawnee began as an Indian mission, which was established in 1831. The town was later laid out in 1857. Money Magazine named Shawnee in its 2010 “Best Places to Live” survey, recognizing the town for its median commute time, air quality index and affordable housing. Of the 23,700 households, 37% have children in them. The racial makeup of the city is 86% white, 5% African-American, 3% Asian, 4.5% Hispanic, and 1.5% “other.” A 2015 report called the Behavioral Health Barometer of Kansas cited that 175,000 people in Kansas aged 12 and older (7.5%) per year were dependent on or abused alcohol in 2014. In addition, 43,000 individuals used illicit drugs within the year before being surveyed. Of adolescents surveyed, 8% admitted to using illicit drugs sometime in the 30 days before being asked.
Manhattan is located at the junction of the Big Blue River and the Kansas River. As the county seat of Riley County, Manhattan Kansas also extends into Pottawatomie County. Around 52,300 people reside in Manhattan, which was founded as a free state town in the 1850s. Because of its name, it is nicknamed “The Little Apple.” In 1867, an earthquake with an intensity of VII on the Mercalli intensity scale (very strong) struck Riley County. Because another earthquake of this magnitude could destroy the dam on the Tuttle Creek Reservoir, the Army Corps of Engineers worked to replace sand with concrete walls, to stabilize the dam in 2010. The median age for this city is 24 years, and 22% of households have children living in them. In Manhattan, the average family size is 2.82. A 2013 report from KSNT told how 17 people were arrested in Manhattan Kansas regarding illegal narcotics and drug paraphernalia. During this massive drug bust, 13 search warrants were issued.
Lenexa is located in Johnson County Kansas and has a population of 48,000 people. This city borders Oakland Park to the east, Shawnee to the north, Olathe to the south and De Soto to the west. The town was platted in 1869 by James Butler Hickok who claimed 160 acres here. The Shawnee Indians were living in the area at the time. Later, Hickock become known as “Wild Bill Hickock,” because he was an Army sharpshooter. Legend has it that the name Lenexa is derived from “Na-Nex-Se,” a known Indian in the area. The racial composition of Lenexa, KS is 85% white, 6% African-American, 4% Asian and 5% other races. In 2012, WIBW reported on federal drug charges that were filed against 24 defendants in Douglas and Johnson counties. The drug was 1,000 kilograms of high-grade marijuana, which was scheduled to be distributed in the area.
The county seat of Saline County is Salina, Kansas. Around 48,000 people inhabit the town, which is one of the world’s largest wheat-producing areas. The regional trade center for north-central Kansas, Salina is also home to many colleges. Manufacturing is the dominant industry in the city, along with agricultural transportation. Major city employers include Schwan Food Company, Tony’s Pizza, Philips Lighting, and Asurion. In Salina, 71% of the population aged 16 and older are in the labor force. The cost of living in Salina is 81, which is lower than the U.S. average of 100. In 2015, an extensive investigation by the Saline County Drug Task Force led to many arrests regarding illegal drug operations, according to the Salina Post. During a raid, police found methamphetamine and marijuana that was being held by members of a gang called the “Get Money Boyz” or “GMB.” As with other cities in Kansas, Salina residents also have problems with heroin and prescription opioids.
The county seat of Reno County Kansas is Hutchinson. Home to many salt mines since 1887, Hutchinson has around 42,000 residents and the nickname of “Salt City.” Hutchinson, KS hosts the Kansas State Fair and the National Junior College Athletic Association. When Indian Agent Clinton Hutchinson contracted with the Santa Fe Railway in 1871, Hutchinson was founded. In 2001, 143 million cubic feet of compressed natural gas leaked in the city from a Yaggy storage field. When it went below ground, and then rose to the surface through brine, there were 15 gas blowholes formed. This led to an explosion in downtown, which killed two people. In 2015, the Hutchinson-Reno County Drug Enforcement Unit and Reno Sheriff’s Office arrested many people for drug offenses. This was because of several overdose incidents that involved teenagers. According to the Garden Bend Post, the drugs include amphetamines, LSD, benzodiazepines, and marijuana.
The county seat of Leavenworth County, Kansas is also called Leavenworth. This city has a population of 35,200 people, and it is located on the west bank of the Missouri River. In 1827, the site of Fort Leavenworth was built, and is best known for its role in the settlement of the American West. Leavenworth was the site of many African-American refugee slaves in Civil War days. Throughout the 19th century, African-Americans settled in Leavenworth. The median age in this city is 35 years, and the male-to-female ratio is 54:46. In Kansas, 17% of high school students surveyed admitted to drinking alcohol before the age of 13 years, according to a 2012 survey by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Additionally, 32% of Kansas teens admitted to using marijuana at least one time during their lives. Another 7% of the high school students surveyed reported using pain relievers for non-medical reasons.