Drug-related problems have always been a prominent issue within the United States, but some states have it worse than others. There are many contributing factors to why drug addiction is worse in some locations, including care accessibility, drug availability, treatments, population, overall wealth, and political policies.
States with the Most Drug Problems
Before taking a look at why some states have worse drug addiction rates than others, it’s important to understand which states have the most issues. According to data compiled by Wallet hub, the most problematic states in 2023 are:
- New Mexico
- West Virginia
- District of Columbia
If you continue down their table, you’ll find Indiana coming in 12th, New York in 24th, and Hawaii with the least drug addiction issues.
Availability of Treatments
One of the reasons why drug addiction is rife in some states and not others is the availability of treatment centers. When there are more drug users in a state than there are treatment facilities, the issues are bound to worsen.
When you move into rural areas, access to drug addiction treatment becomes even more scarce because transport facilities aren’t always up to scratch.
People who are addicted to drugs need to have access to healthcare, as it can help alleviate criminal activity and further substance use. In particular, mental health facilities can support drug users with recovery. Unfortunately, a lack of healthcare provisions is one of the many reasons why Indiana state has a high addiction rate.
When assessing a state’s healthcare provisions, the number of care facilities, the number of insurance providers accepted, and the ease of transportation are all taken into consideration. To tackle problems with drugs, state leaders must work to increase healthcare provisions for all.
Illegal drugs are like any other product. If there’s enough demand and plenty of supply, there will be active drug use. Drug users have many methods of accessing drugs, even when there are obstacles to overcome. In some cases, the average medical cabinet will hold dangerous drugs, people will buy them online, or they’ll be created from household substances. One of the best ways to combat state-wide drug use is to try and limit its supply.
State and federal policies influence everything including problems with drug addiction. For example, some states have stricter laws when it comes to drug use, which includes harsher prison sentences. However, the numbers suggest that there’s zero correlation between the number of drug users incarcerated in a state and how bad the overall issue is. Additionally, researchers have found that releasing a person after just a few days can increase their risk of drug abuse and overdose.
Drug use is present across all of America, but some areas are more prone to issues than others. Typically, population density, political policies, drug availability, treatment options, and healthcare provisions all determine how much of a drug presence there is.