REPORT: States with the biggest drug problems in 2018

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In recognition of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Prevention Week May 13-19, the personal-finance website WalletHub released its report on the States with the Biggest Drug Problems in 2018.

Problems exist despite the continuous increase in the federal drug budget, which has risen from $23.8 billion in 2013 to almost $27.5 billion in 2017. The Trump administration has taken a hardline approach to drug use and associated crimes, with President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions  advocating for strict sentences for drug-related offenses and, in some cases, the death penalty.

WalletHub’s study compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia on 20 key metrics, ranging from arrest and overdose rates to prescriptions for opioids and meth-lab incidents per capita.

States with the biggest drug problems were the District of Columbia, Missouri, New Hampshire, Michigan and West Virginia. Those with the least amount of drug issues were North Dakota, Kansas, Utah, Iowa and Minnesota.

Key findings of the study included:

  • Alabama leads the nation with 121 retail opioid pain reliever prescriptions per 100 residents, with the District of Columbia having the least at 33 for every 100 residents.
  • West Virginia has 52 drug overdose deaths per 100,000 residents, and Nebraska has the fewest, with 6.40 per 100,000 residents.
  • Alaska has the highest share of teens who used illicit drugs in the past month, at 13.22 percent, with Utah having the lowest at 5.96 percent.
  • Vermont has the highest share of adults who used illicit drugs in the past month, at 18.83 percent, with Iowa representing the lowest at 6.77 percent.

National Prevention Week is an annual observance dedicated to increasing public awareness of, and action related to, mental and/or substance use disorders.

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