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Report: District of Columbia Leads the Nation for Drug Problems

PENNY STARR

The U.S. Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is marking National Prevention Week this week, and a report released on Monday shows the District of Columbia comes in as number one in the nation for drug problems.

The website WalletHub put out the report, which ranked all 50 states and the District, stating that the United States spent more than $27.7 billion in the 2018 federal budget to fight drug problems.

After D.C., Michigan, Missouri, West Virginia, Indiana, Arkansas, New Hampshire, Kentucky, Colorado, and New Mexico round out the top ten in chronological order.

Below are some other findings gleaned from the report:

• Alabama has 107 opioid pain reliever prescriptions per 100 residents, leading the nation. On the other end of the spectrum, there are 29 for every 100 D.C. residents.

• West Virginia has 57.80 drug overdose deaths per 100,000 residents. That is 7.1 times more than in Nebraska, which has the fewest at 8.10 per 100,000 residents.

• Rhode Island has the highest share of teens who used illicit drugs in the past month, at 11.81 percent. That is 1.9 times higher than in Utah, which has the lowest at 6.10 percent.

• Oregon has the highest share of adults who used illicit drugs in the past month, at 21.74 percent. That is 2.8 times higher than in North Dakota, which has the lowest at 7.81 percent.

Blue states have more drug problems than red states — 28.3  percent to 23.10 percent respectively.

According to WalletHub, the methodology for the report is as follows:

In order to determine which states have the biggest drug problems, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia in three overall categories: 1) Drug Use & Addiction, 2) Law Enforcement and 3) Drug Health Issues & Rehab.

Those categories include a total of 22 relevant metrics, which are listed below with their corresponding weights. Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the biggest drug problem.

We then determined each state and the District’s weighted average across all metrics to calculate its overall score. This total score was the basis for our final ranking. So the state ranked 1st in this study has the biggest drug problem, based on the data at hand, while the state ranked 51st has the smallest drug problem.

The SAMSHA website states that in addition to drug abuse prevention, the week-long event is also intended to promote the prevention of underage drinking, youth tobacco use, and suicide.

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