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Which States Have the Highest Rates of Drug Abuse?

a person holds their head in agony while sitting on the floor

America has been wrestling with the COVID epidemic for nearly two years now, but it’s also fighting another epidemic for much longer than that. 

The drug epidemic has claimed the lives of nearly 850,000 people since 1999. It’s been a costly and challenging struggle to keep these numbers from rising year on year. 

Drug abuse in America varies from state to state, with some states doing markedly worse than others. This is for several reasons that we’ll touch on later. 

Let’s take a look at some of the states with the worst drug abuse rates in America. 

Drug Abuse in America: The 10 Worst States

It can be difficult to nail down concrete data when it comes to drug abuse statistics. But researchers compared all 50 states (and the District of Columbia) across 20 metrics to conclude which states had the worst problems. 

The metrics included things like arrest rates, overdose deaths, meth lab incidents, and opioid prescriptions.

Here are the ten worst states.

10. Pennsylvania 

Pennsylvania has been struggling with fentanyl addiction for a while now.

The state had the fifth-highest number of overdose deaths per capita and the fourth-largest rate of growth for these deaths. 

Pennsylvania also has a problem with campus drug use, the ninth highest for drug arrests on college campuses. 

9. Kentucky

People often think of the desert regions of California or Nevada as the meth capitals. However, the midwestern state of Kentucky is one of three states with the highest rates of meth lab incidents.

Kentucky also has the sixth-highest number of overdose deaths per capita, coming in just under Pennsylvania. Kentucky was also ranked seventh for opioid prescriptions. 

8. Rhode Island

Rhode Island might be the smallest state in the US, but it’s not invulnerable to the effects of the drug epidemic. 

Rhode Island suffers from a lack of treatment options. Rhode Island has the highest number of people who need addiction treatment but can’t find it. The state also had the second-biggest percentage of teenagers using illegal drugs and the sixth-biggest percentage for adults.

7. Indiana

Indiana shares the unfortunate title of most meth lab incidents with its Southern neighbor Kentucky.

Indiana also performs poorly for drug use on campus. The state has the sixth-highest number of college campus drug arrests. Indiana’s problems are compounded by the fact that it has a shortage of treatment workers. 

Indiana was tenth-lowest for the number of addiction support or behavioral therapy workers in the US.

6. New Mexico

New Mexico comes in at six because of its levels of drug use among youths. 

The desert state had the most significant percentage of teenagers who admitted to taking Cannabis before age 13. It also had the third-biggest rate of teenagers still using illegal drugs.

Unfortunately, this problem soon found its way onto school grounds. The state came in fifth for the percentage of teenagers who had been sold or offered illegal drugs while at school.

5. West Virginia

West Virginia is a state that is struggling hard against the opioid epidemic. 

Tragically, West Virginia is the state with the highest number of overdose deaths per capita. It also came in eighth for the metric of opioid prescriptions.

West Virginia also, unfortunately, holds the number one spot for drug-related arrests on college campuses.

4. Michigan

Michigan is also a picture of the midwest’s methamphetamine issues. The state ranked seventh for the number of meth lab incidents.

Michigan was also ranked tenth for the number of opioid prescriptions.

3. New Hampshire

New Hampshire is often viewed as somewhat of a sleepy state, but it has its fair share of drug problems. 

The New England state had the third-highest number of overdose deaths and the tenth-biggest number of drug arrests. New Hampshire is another state suffering from a lack of addiction therapists, as it was ninth-highest for the number of adults unable to access the treatment they needed.

2. Missouri

Missouri is another state that is reeling with a meth crisis. The state was joint with Kentucky and Indiana for the most considerable number of meth lab incidents. 

The Southern state also had the fourth-highest arrest rate for drug crimes. 

1. District of Columbia

The District of Columbia has something of a perfect storm for a drug epidemic.

Not only does it have the largest rate of growth for overdose deaths, but it also has one of the lowest number of available treatment facilities.

The Capital has the second-highest number of adults who use illegal drugs, and the fourth-highest percentage of teenagers. The drug problem in D.C. is affecting both young and old.

Why Some States Are Worse Than Others

There are a variety of reasons why some states perform worse than others. One thing that’s clear from the list above is that a lack of treatment centers can cause states’ drug problems to spiral into full-blown crises. 

Good treatment that keeps people sober is a great way to combat local drug problems. States like Rhode Island, Indiana, New Hampshire, and Missouri are all suffering from a lack of treatment options exacerbating their states’ problems. 

Local state politicians often end up debating these problems for extended periods, and while they are trying to help, it can end up delaying the implementation of vital treatment policies. 

A lot of states don’t have the resources to tackle the problem. Fighting a drug epidemic takes a lot of money and a lot of energy. It’s never a straightforward problem to tackle, and you can end up going round in circles for months, years, or even decades.

Find Treatment Today

It can be tough to seek help for yourself or a loved one. Coming to terms with addiction and deciding to tackle it head-on is a lifelong commitment. If you’re searching for rehab centers in San Diego, you can reach out to us here at Apex.

We don’t accept Medi-cal at this time but do accept self-pay options.

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