The Addicted States of America?
Over the past few years, the United States has experienced an increase in the use of drugs. We can’t turn on the television, read a newspaper or turn in to social media to hear which drugs Americans are addicted to and what the new flavor of the month is regarding the new fix.
To what degree America is experiencing the epidemic of drug use and addiction can be up for debate, but there are certain parts of the country where the use of certain drugs are causing significant concern. The following is a list of the states which are experiencing high rates of addiction.
Want to see the opioid epidemic by state? Learn more, here.
Despite its bucolic setting, Vermont has the highest rate of illicit drug use in the United States, with 15% of citizens saying they have used illicit drugs within the past month. Vermont ranks high in usage of a wide variety of drugs including marijuana and cocaine.
““…Vermont has seen an eightfold increase in those seeking treatment for opiate use, with an almost 40 percent spike in the past year for heroin alone, and every day hundreds are languishing on waiting lists for understaffed clinics.”
In cities such as Burlington and Rutland, there are have dramatic increases in treatment admissions for heroin and prescription painkiller use.
The “Sin City” state has the highest rate of treatment admissions for stimulant abuse, and especially methamphetamine. There were nearly 1900 treatment admissions for stimulant and methamphetamine abuse in Nevada with Las Vegas and Carson City with the highest concentration of users. In Carson City, for example, meth accounted for 27 percent of all treatment admissions.
According a 2013 report issued by the Nevada Attorney General’s Office, there was a 112% increase in the number of treatment admissions for opiate and opioid abuse and admissions for benzodiazpines such as Valium increased 341 percent.
New Mexico has the second highest drug overdose mortality rate in the country, with almost 24 people per 100,000 dying from overdoses in 2013. The report also states that number of drug overdose deaths – a majority of which are from prescription drugs – in New Mexico increased by 59 percent since 1999 when the rate was 15 per 100,000.
Additionally, New Mexico has a drug overdose rate that is nearly double the national average. The city of Espanola, NM accounts for 42.5 drug related deaths per 10,000 which is more than four times higher than the national average of 7.3.
District of Columbia
Cocaine/crack and heroin each separately accounting for 32 percent of all treatment admissions in the District of Columbia in 2011. Washington D.C. also leads the country in drug mortality rates.
As with other parts of the country, Florida saw a dramatic increase in the number of heroin-related overdoses and deaths. A Reuters report from early last year stated the following:
“Deaths from heroin – now more potent and widely available than ever – rose 89 percent statewide from 62 in 2011 to 117 in 2012, with the problem reaching epidemic proportions in South Florida, according to a report by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institute of Health…In Miami-Dade County, deaths jumped 120 percent, from 15 in 2011 to 33 in 2012.”
Prior to the surge seen in heroin use, Florida had seen an epidemic in prescription medication overdoses which decreased after the state began strengthening its prescribing laws and stepping up enforcement.
As the smallest state in the country, Rhode Island has long been known as a state in a constant battle with drug addiction. Between 2009 and 2013, the number of admissions for treatment for heroin addiction rose 40 percent and the state has the highest rate of illicit drug use at 12.8%. Rhode Island has been among the top five states in the country for illicit drug use among residents ages 12 and older over the past decade according to surveys conducted by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
As the third state that passed legislation to legalize marijuana for adults, it is no surprise that marijuana use rates in Alaska are high (no pun intended). As of 2010, marijuana has been the most commonly-cited drug among primary drug treatment admissions, closely followed by other opiates like prescription drugs.
In an article published in the Washington Post in August of last year, nearly one in four Alaskans aged 18-24 used marijuana in the past month as well as just over 11 percent of adults over 25 years of age.
Citing data from the National Survey of Drug Use and Health and featured in an article published late last year in the Denver Post:
“As marijuana legalization took hold in Colorado, the estimated percentage of regular cannabis users in the state jumped to the second-highest level in the country, according to new federal data…when asked, roughly one out of every eight Colorado residents over the age of 12 reported using marijuana in the previous month. Only Rhode Island topped Colorado in the percentage of residents who reported using marijuana as frequently.”
These numbers had been obtained after the legalization of the drug in the state. While these numbers may indicate on the surface there may be more addicts, it is too early to tell if this will become true.
Methamphetamine use accounts for 50% of incarcerations in Missoula, MT and 13.8% of its’ citizens reported using illicit drugs within the last month, according to a Forbes magazine article. According to a report published by the Montana Department of Justice, prescription drug abuse had accounted for more deaths in that state than meth, heroin and cocaine combined. Additionally, youth in Montana report the third-highest rate of prescription drug abuse in the country.
Like other states in the Northeastern United States, Massachusetts experienced a dramatic increase in heroin overdoses and deaths. From November 2013 to February 2014, 185 people died from suspected heroin overdoses. That number does not include the states 3 largest cities and overdose deaths are up 47% since 1999. In a recent article in the Boston Globe, more than 1,700 infants born last year in Massachusetts were exposed to drugs, a problem driven in part by the opiate crisis engulfing the state.