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10 States with the Highest Drug Overdose Death Rates in America

America has a long and complex relationship with drugs and this list of states with the highest drug overdose death rates in America will give an idea how serious and vast this problem is. If you’re interested in comparing America with other countries for this issue, take a look at the statistic from 2015 from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, which shows us that America is the leading nation with the highest drug death rate.  We are dealing with the issue of overdose deaths in America in this article but if you’re wondering what state has the worst drug problem, it’s Vermont. The state with the highest drug use in 2017 so far is District of Columbia. In order to come to conclusion to this problem Wallet Hub used methodology by simply researching three questions: 1) Drug Use & Addiction, 2) Law Enforcement and 3) Drug Health Issues and Rehab. The statistics of the drug overdose deaths are quite startling and on the rise, unfortunately. America’s history with drugs goes way back, and was present during every war possible (because of the war injuries). The first legislation against drug abuse in America was in 1875, which tells us that we’re fighting this battle a little bit too long. If you’re thinking about the number of drug overdoses per year, well just in 2016 there were more than 59,000 death overdoses according to data compiled by New York Times. We’re still waiting for the official report of drug overdose deaths by state for 2016 and 2017, since it takes time to provide such detailed data.

Before we continue with our text you should know the definition of a drug – it is a chemical substance that has an effect on our central nervous system when consumed. Also, drugs can be put in our body in numerous ways, whether it is directly through a vein, snorting or sniffling through the nose, swallowing. It’s important to know that there are different types of drugs, pharmaceutical drugs, psychoactive drugs, “club drugs”, etc. “Club drugs”, are the types of drugs people usually consume when they are out and about in clubs, concerts, festivals, etc., some of the drugs that belong to this category are GHB, Rohypnol®, Ketamine, MDMA (Ecstasy), Methamphetamine, and LSD (Acid). People with addiction get desperate enough to fake pain in order to get some drug for “pain relief” and more about it you can read in this article 6 Best Injuries to Fake for Pain Meds. And, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse most of the club drugs are consumed by young adults. Seems like young adults are completely unaware of the dangerous effects these drugs can have. Before going any deeper into the problem, let’s take a look at a statistic report “Drugs Most Frequently Involved in Drug Overdose Deaths: United States, 2010-2014” published by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

10 States with the Highest Drug Overdose Death Rates in America

Maxal Tamor/Shutterstock.com

According to the statistic report, we learn that there are 10 frequently used drugs which lead to an overdose death. CDCP divided these 10 frequently used drugs into three categories and those are “opioids: heroin, oxycodone, methadone, morphine, hydrocodone, fentanyl; benzodiazepines: alprazolam and diazepam; stimulants: cocaine and methamphetamine.” As you will later see in our list, fentanyl is the drug that has the highest overdose rate, leaving heroin in the second place. If you’re looking for states with the highest opioid abuse and want to know more about opioids and its devastating consequences we got you covered with our article 10 States With The Highest Opioid Abuse Rates. In a report by the American Society of Addiction Medicine, you will find that there were 20,101 opioid related deaths. It seems like women are more likely to suffer from chronic pain, so they often get prescription for pain relievers and soon develop addiction problems. We’re still waiting for the official report for opioid deaths by state 2016.

Benzodiazepins are types of drugs that treat insomnia and anxiety so no wonder it is the type of drug mostly prescribed in America. The other name for benzodiazepins that you’re probably more familiar with is tranquilizers. According to Psychology Today, Americans seem to be overwhelmed with anxiety and stress.

The last category is stimulants, and they are known for their ability to increase blood pressure and energy level as the name suggests. Chances for addiction are very high. It is very important to pay attention when we’re talking about overdosing, since there are two types of it: unintentional and intentional. People often take more meds than it is prescribed to them.

Because it takes a lot of time to sort this kind of detailed information about the deaths, the latest info we have is from 2014. Top 10 drugs involved in drug overdose deaths in the United States, 2014:

Referent drug Number

of deaths

Heroin 10,863
Cocaine 5,856
Oxycodone 5,417
Alprazolam 4,217
Fentanyl 4,200
Morphine 4,022
Methamphetamine 3,728
Methadone 3,495
Hydrocodone 3,274
Diazepam 1,729

With this being said, let’s take a look at a list of states dealing with the most drug overdose deaths with the data from 2015. The list is compiled by the enter for Disease Control and Prevention. Also we will compare the current numbers with data from 1999 just so you can see the skyrocketing difference in numbers.

Let’s see those unfortunate states with the highest drug overdose death rates in America.

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