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Which states have the highest drug-abuse rates? What You Should Know

Close up of pills spilling from a pill bottle.

Drug addiction and alcoholism are absolutely raging everywhere in the United States. As of 2017, 19.7 million Americans struggled with some form of substance abuse.

Addiction and substance abuse have been a major issue for the entire 21st Century. Unsurprisingly, however, things have gotten a lot more extreme during Coronavirus. As of June 2020, over 13% of Americans report either starting a drug dependency or increasing their usage. 

People don’t just need rehab centers in Tennessee, but all over the United States. 

Some states are more rife with alcoholism and addiction than others. There are plenty of out-of-state visitors looking for drug rehab and alcohol rehab in Tennessee.

Let’s take a look at the current statistics and find out which states are suffering the most from substance abuse. 

District of Columbia

According to a recent study by WalletHub, the state with the highest instance of drug abuse and addiction isn’t a state at all. The District of Columbia is ranked #1 for substance abuse when factoring in numerous variables. 

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) segments those statistics even further. According to the SAMHSA, the District of Columba has a substance abuse rate of 20.9%. 

The national average is 14.7%, to put that into perspective.

Approximately 28.7% of those 12 and older have reported binge drinking alcohol recently. 

The young are not the only people struggling with substance abuse issues in the District of Columbia. The opioid epidemic is still going strong in our nation’s capital. 89% of Washington D.C.’s opioid users are 40 years or older

These issues affect certain demographics more than others, as well. 81% of deaths related to opioid use were African-American. This trend has remained remarkably consistent over the years. 

Luckily, Washington D.C. also has a strong rate of recovery, so there are some excellent drug rehab and alcohol rehab facilities in the District of Columbia. 

West Virginia

Next up is West Virginia. West Virginia leads the pack when it comes to deaths due to overdose. There are 51.5 deaths related to opioid overdose for every 100,000 residents. 

Opioid use is by far the most serious problem in West Virginia. This is due to a number of reasons. For one, West Virginia traditionally has a high rate of manual labor jobs. 

Some of these manual laborers are injured on the job and then prescribed opioids. Many of those relying on these painkillers develop a dependency over time. Fentanyl and methamphetamines are the two other most common types of addiction found in West Virginia. 

West Virginia also has an unusually high unemployment rate. This also leads to substance abuse and alcoholism.

Sadly, although addiction is rife throughout West Virginia the options for recovery are far more limited. While West Virginia’s second in terms of rate of addiction, it ranks thirtieth for rehabs. 


Third on our list is Missouri. In 2018, an estimated 388,000 Missourians struggled with substance abuse. This includes 21,000 adolescents, 98,000 young adults, and 269,000 adults over the age of 25. 

Alcoholism is endemic in Missouri, as well. Around 294,000 Missouri residents struggled with alcoholism in 2018. 207,000 of those were over the age of 25 but 10,000 adolescents were already struggling with alcoholism before the legal drinking age.

Certain areas of Missouri are more prone to addiction and alcoholism, as well. The Western region of the state has particularly high rates of substance abuse. The Central portion of the state follows shortly behind. The Southwest portion of Missouri has the lowest rate of substance abuse in the region. 


Last but not least, we have Colorado. Colorado’s substance abuse and alcoholism epidemic is a reminder that a state doesn’t need to be economically depressed to struggle with substance abuse. 

Substance abuse has been on the rise in Colorado over the course of the pandemic. Deaths due to drug overdose nearly doubled between 2015 and 2020, rising to 26 overdose deaths per 100,000 residents in 2020.

As with every other state we’ve mentioned so far, opioid deaths are overwhelmingly responsible for this uptick. There were 987 opioid-related overdoses in Colorado in 2020. These accounted for 65.3% of all drug-related deaths in the state. 

Colorado also has higher-than-average rates of alcoholism. 8.8% of adults reported having abused alcohol in the past year between 2018 and 2019. The national average is 5.7%, in comparison. 

As you can see, substance abuse, addiction, and alcoholism are not limited to one geographic area. They’re not restricted to one demographic, either. 

Alcoholism and substance abuse are a disease that can affect anybody. And that disease has been spreading these past few years. 

Mental health has been deteriorating over the span of the pandemic. Even the best of us are struggling to keep it all together. It’s no surprise that many have been turning to chemical allies to help get by. 

Looking For Rehab Centers In Tennessee?

If you’re ready to find out how the best rehab centers in TN can restore you or your loved ones to health and well-being, get in touch with us today to set up a consultation. 

Call Our Toll-Free Hotline 24/7 at 877.881.2689