Drug Problem Score, by State

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Due to the CoronaVirus, a lot of people have felt upheaval in their lives and have begun to self-medicate creating a concern for potential addiction. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, drug abuse and addiction cost the United States more than $740 billion annually in lost workplace productivity, healthcare expenses, and crime-related costs in 2017. Drugs affect our brains and change the way that we think and the way that we physically feel sensations. Increased addiction rates could lead to an increase in death and crime in the US.

 A large number of the problems caused by drug use are related to the Opioid Epidemic which began in the late 90s and was declared a public health emergency by the HHS in 2017.  According to the CDC approximately 70% of the deaths caused by drug use were due to Opioids. In 2018 alone, there were 9 million people who began to misuse prescription pain relievers. The United States leads the world in the number of overdoses due not only to opioids but also amphetamines and cocaine use.

 Although people can be tempted by drug use anywhere, we wanted to see what states contained the highest risk of related problems. So, we took data collected by the FBI in order to determine the number of issues in every state relating to drug use based on drug-related arrests, drug overdoses over the age of 12, and reported overdose deaths. 


In order to determine the states with the worst drug problems, Addictions.com compared the 50 states across 3 key dimensions: 1)Drugs Arrests, 2) hospitalizations due to drug usage, and 3) Overdose Deaths.

We evaluated those dimensions using 5 relevant metrics, which are listed below

Sources: FBI Crime Data, CDC Data, Data.gov, Substance Abuse, and Mental Health Services Administration Data

We then determined each state’s weighted average across all metrics to calculate its overall score and used the resulting scores to rank-order our sample.


  • https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/prescription-drug-abuse/symptoms-causes/syc-20376813
  • https://drugabusestatistics.org/
  • https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/drug-overdose-data.htm
  • https://www.drugwarfacts.org/chapter/prevalence
  • https://www.statista.com/statistics/611152/illicit-drug-users-number-past-year-in-the-us-by-drug/
  • https://www.bjs.gov/
  • https://www.drugwarfacts.org/

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