The best way to see which states have the worst opioid problems is to look at the rates of overdose deaths. The information below has been gathered from the Centers for Disease Control which tracks this information. These 11 states had the highest opioid overdose death rates per capita (100,000 people):
Nearly every state in the U.S. saw its overdose death rate increase between 2010 and 2016, and often the jump was significant. The only states that saw a decrease were Oregon, Montana, and Nebraska.
Overdose rate: 28.7
Maine’s overdose death rate nearly tripled between 2010 and 2016, and that’s not even the worst part about its opioid abuse. Opioids were responsible for four out of five overdose deaths in 2015, according to the state’s Department of Health and Human Services.
10. Rhode Island
Overdose rate: 30.8
Rhode Island’s overdose rate doubled from 2010 to 2016, and there’s one major reason for it. Cheap heroin from South America is easy to get, according to the National Drug Intelligence Center, which is attractive to younger users.
Overdose rate: 30.8
Wilmington is the epicenter of the problem in Delaware, which saw its overdose rate jump from 16.6 in 2010 to 30.8 in 2016.
Overdose rate: 33.0
A surplus of fentanyl in Massachusetts is one reason its overdose rate tripled in just six years. Pharmaceutical-grade fentanyl is rampant, but criminals groups make their own, and that’s why opioid abuse is out of control.
Overdose rate: 33.2
Seeing Maryland show up proves that opioid abuse transcends class. One of every 12 households have at least $1 million in assets, yet the state more than tripled its overdose death rate in just six years.
Overdose rate: 33.5
Opioid abuse isn’t the only problem in the Bluegrass state. The fact that 40% of the state’s counties don’t sell alcohol is driving methamphetamine use. Kentucky had one of the worst overdose death rates in 2010 (23.60), and it was still bad in 2016, the last time the CDC examined the data.
Overdose rate: 37.9
Like most of the nation, Pennsylvania is still battling opioid abuse problems. The state has one of the highest overdose rates in America with 4,627 drug-related deaths of 2016.
4. Washington, D.C.
Overdose rate: 38.8
The nation’s capital isn’t exempt from opioid abuse issues. The death rate in D.C. nearly tripled between 2010 and 2016, from 12.9 to 38.8.
3. New Hampshire
Overdose rate: 39.0
Opioid abuse has hit New England hard, and that includes New Hampshire. It’s so dire that firefighters are fighting overdoses more often than fires, according to U.S. News & World Report.
Overdose rate: 39.1
Ohio has one of the highest drug addiction rates in America, according to a WalletHub study, so it’s not surprising to see it show up here. Its rate is No. 2 overall, and its number of overdose deaths (4,329) is No. 4.
1. West Virginia
Overdose rate: 52.0
An already serious opioid abuse problem got even worse for West Virginia. Its 28.9 per capita overdose death rate in 2010 was substantially higher than No. 2 Kentucky at the time, and as we can see, its 2016 rate is well ahead of other states yet again.