States with Highest Substance Abuse Rates: It is no news that substance abuse is an issue of great importance for the United States. In fact, the current administration has spent over $10 billion on drug education programs and expanding access to treatments for all illicit and prescription drugs, as well as legal drugs (alcohol, for example). This pressing national issue should not be overlooked, and that’s why we’ve compiled a list of the states with highest substance abuse rates. If you find medical issues and information interesting, you might also like to check out the 10 Countries with Cheapest Medical Care.
Coming back to the issue of our present list, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), substance abuse (tobacco, alcohol and illicit drugs) is very costly to the U.S and the annual costs related to crime, lost work productivity and healthcare add up to $600 billion. Moreover, the overall yearly cost related to illicit drugs is a staggering $193 billion. Disturbing, right? One of the most alarming facts of all is that prescription drug abuse has been classified as an epidemic by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC); yes, an epidemic, just like cholera and Ebola. Even the the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) admits that prescription drug abuse is the fastest growing drug problem in the country.
But compiling a list of the states with highest substance abuse rates is no easy task, especially because illicit and prescription drugs’ consumption figures are hard to get. The data we used to create the countdown is from the 2011-2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) published by The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). This survey is the primary source of information on the use and abuse of alcohol, tobacco and illegal drugs in the general American population over the age of 12. Furthermore, this annual nationwide survey interviews approximately 70,000 randomly selected individuals aged 12 or older. Finally, you should know that the NSDUH’s main goals include: providing accurate data on the level and patterns of substance use and abuse, tracking the trends in the use of substances, assessing the consequences of such abuse, and identifying the groups which are at high risk for the use and abuse of substances.
Before going into the list, we should analyze the bigger picture. For example, the national data of the 2011-2012 NSDUH shows that the region with the highest rates of illicit drug abuse or dependence for all age groups is the West. On the other hand, the region with the highest percentage of binge alcohol use is the Northeast. But the West also ranks the highest in alcohol abuse and dependence. For the countdown we chose the figures of Illicit Drug Dependence or Abuse in the Past Year and the 18-25 age group, for it is the one that tends to have the highest percentages.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the countdown of the ten states with highest substance abuse rates.