Most of us are aware that addiction is a huge issue in our world. Across the United States, we are constantly hearing about overdose rates, drunk driving accidents, and local drug problems. However, do we ever stop to consider just how bad the problems are for individual states? Your state might have a difficult drug problem they are trying to handle, but another state might have a seemingly impossible-to-tackle drug problem they’ve been trying to handle for years. Today, we ask the question: Which states have the worst drug problems? Let’s take a look at the top 10 states with the worst drug problems and analyze the statistics.

#10 – New Mexico

New Mexico is the first state on our list, coming in at number 10. In the last year, New Mexico had the fifth-largest share of teenagers who used illicit substances in the country, which accounted for 11% of the teenage population. Another alarming statistic New Mexico has is they have the largest share of teenagers who illegally used marijuana before the age of 13. This accounted for 16% of the teenage population. New Mexico is also a state that has one of the greatest problems with drugs being sold on school campuses.

#9 – Colorado

One of the many states to legalize recreational use of marijuana, Colorado has seen a surge in illicit substance use, putting it at number 9 on our list. With the fourth-largest share of adults who used illegal substances, nearly 19% of the adult population account for this statistic. To put it in perspective, on Colorado college campuses, there are approximately 3 drug-related arrests per 1,000 students, which is the highest in the country. In terms of addicts getting treatment for their substance abuse disorders, only 3% of these individuals were able to get the treatment they needed. 

#8 – Kentucky

Kentucky has one of the worst opioid epidemics in the United States. To put it in perspective, there are approximately 87 opioid prescriptions given out per 100 people. States across the nation have been working to lower numbers like these, but Kentucky remains one of the states with some of the highest prescription rates in the country.

#7 – New Hampshire

At number 7 on our list is New Hampshire. New Hampshire has an alarming statistic when it comes to overdose deaths per capita. In the state, there are about 37 deaths per 100,000 individuals, which is one of the highest in the United States.

#6 – Arkansas

Arkansas is number 6 on our list and, unfortunately, it ranks poorly in a lot of areas when it comes to drug problems and addiction. For starters, Arkansas has seen a high percentage of teenagers who were offered, sold, or even given illegal substances. This accounts for 30.7% of the teenage population. Another alarming statistic is that nearly 12% of Arkansas children lived with a person who actively abused substances. In terms of opioid prescriptions, there are on average 105 prescriptions given out per 100 people. 

#5 – Indiana

At number 5 on our list of states with the worst drug problems is Indiana. This state has one of the highest opioid prescriptions rates per 100 people and it has seen one of the most significant increases in opioid-related deaths in the nation, ranking at number 3 with a 22.5% opioid overdose death rate. Indiana is another state that has a high amount of on-campus arrests that are drug-related.

#4 – West Virginia

The fourth state with one of the larger drug problems in the U.S. is West Virginia. This is another state that ranks high on the charts of teenagers using marijuana before the age of 13 (accounting for 9% of the teenage population). 15.6% of children in the state of West Virginia also lived with or have lived with someone who struggled with drug or alcohol addiction. West Virginia is actually tied with Colorado for most college campus arrests related to illicit substances (3 arrests per 1,000 students). Just like many other states on this list, West Virginia also does not have any laws regarding employee drug testing, making it easier for people to abuse substances without fear of losing their jobs.

#3 – Missouri

Next up is Missouri, which ranks number 3 on the states with the worst drug problems. Missouri, unfortunately, does not have any drug prescription monitoring laws, which only lets pharmacies get away with over-prescribing medications. This directly increases the chances of overdoses and opioid-related deaths. Missouri is also among one of the top 10 states with the highest drug arrests per capita.

#2 – Michigan

Michigan is another state that has a high percentage of teenagers who have tried marijuana before the age of 13, accounting for 8.6%. According to studies, 26% of teenagers living in the state were illegally offered or sold drugs on school property. Michigan is, yet again, another state that does not have employee drug test regulations. Another alarming fact is that Michigan, like many other states on this list, does not consider substance abuse during pregnancy a crime. 

#1 – Washington D.C.

Finally, the area in the U.S. with the worst drug problem is the District of Columbia. D.C. has the second-largest percentage of adults who used illicit substances and the fourth-largest percentage of teenagers (adults: 20.4%, teenagers: 11.2%). This could be why D.C. has seen the highest overdose-related deaths per capita.

It’s no secret that the United States has a serious drug problem, and based on statistics, it seems that many of these states could be a bigger part of the problem. Why are these states having such hard times with drug enforcement and regulations? There are endless questions we can ask, but the only way we can fight these kinds of problems is with proper healthcare, more drug education, more regulations on prescriptions given out, and ample amounts of resources for people who are looking for substance rehabilitation. Thank you to WalletHub for providing the information and conducting this research for drug use across the country. 











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