Drug Use by State: 2017’s Problem Areas
From Wallet Hub, May 15, 2017
Drug abuse has a long and storied history in the United States. It progressed from “a serious national threat” in 1969 to “public enemy No. 1” when President Richard Nixon declared war in 1971. That didn’t quite work out, so Nancy Reagan told us to “just say no” in 1984. And her husband began to implement policies that would disproportionately criminalize “crack” cocaine and send prison populations skyrocketing.
Since then, George H.W. Bush tried to take a “child by child” approach. His son subsequently admitted to cocaine use. Bill Clinton “experimented with marijuana a time or two” but “didn’t inhale.” Barack Obama “inhaled frequently” because “that was the point.” And from 2013 through 2016 alone, American taxpayers spent roughly $327 billion on drug-control efforts.
So where has all of that left us? President Trump says he’s never done drugs, but America as a whole can’t seem to quit. The number of people who admit to ever using an illicit drug actually rose from 1979 (31.3%) to 2015 (48.8%), according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Annual overdose deaths have more than tripled from 2000 (17,415) to 2015 (52,404). And over 11 times more people were in prisons and jails for drug offenses in 2015 (469,545) than in 1980 (40,900), according to The Sentencing Project.
Complicating matters, the current administration has sent mixed messages about how seriously it takes the problem. On the one hand, President Trump established a commission to study the opioid epidemic. On the other, the administration has proposed cutting the Office of National Drug Control Policy’s budget by 95% and classifying addiction as a preexisting condition.
Given the uncertain future and lack of significant progress to date, it’s fair to wonder where drug abuse is most pronounced and which areas are most at risk in the current political climate. This report attempts to answer those questions by comparing the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 15 key metrics, ranging from arrest and overdose rates to opioid prescriptions and meth-lab incidents per capita. Continue reading for the complete findings, commentary from a panel of researchers and a full description of the methodology used.
read … Entire Report
- Rank: 46th
- Total Score: 32.15
- Drug Use and Addiction: 38th
- Law Enforcement: 45th
- Drug Health Issues & Rehab: 48th
- Number of Drug Rehab Facilities per 100,000 drug users: 1st