U.S. States Leading the Way In Drug Addiction Rates
When drug addictions rates are reported on the evening news, we hear the same few states mentioned over and over, especially surrounding the topic of opiate epidemic. This isn’t to say that any state is immune and is unaffected by drugs. But, the following states grab most of America’s drug-related headlines:
- New Jersey
- New Hampshire
- West Virginia
- North Carolina
What is it about these states? It seems that the only thing they have in common is that they are located towards the east side of our country. However, the distinction is clear – these states lead the way as far as America’s drug addiction rates go especially, opiate abuse and overdose.
South Florida Is Home to Recovering Addicts From States with High Drug Addiction Rates
Ask anyone who has been to rehab in South Florida or who works in the treatment field, and they will tell you that the majority of people who come down for treatment are from the states listed above. When those people complete their program, they either go back home or relocate to Florida. The amount of people who do relocate to Florida for recovery has earned this area the nickname “The Recovery Capital of the World.”
Florida definitely has an inflated number of people using drugs. Addicts who come to the sunshine state for rehab often stay and unfortunately, relapse. Life after rehab can be notoriously unforgiving. Additionally, for the people who slip up and can’t afford to go back to treatment, living on the streets and indulging in drugs is the desired option.
However, Florida’s drug problem cannot be solely attributed to the people who relocated from other parts of the country. Locals indulge as well, and for years Florida has had the unfortunate reputation of delighting in street drugs like Flakka, Bath Salts, and Heroin.
Drug Addiction Rates Vary State By State, and So Do the Drugs People Are Using
Just like drug addiction rates vary, so do the abused substances. States like California are known for a ridiculously high substance abuse rate, but they did not make the list above because their drug of choice is different. Marijuana is widely used and manufactured, and methamphetamine comes as a close second. Los Angeles is also one of the nation’s largest cocaine distribution areas, according to the National Substance Abuse Index.
Comparing Florida to California:
Unlike California, Florida is a major hub for international drug trafficking. Miami International airport is a major entry point for heroin into the U.S. Heroin causes the second most seizures in Florida, and they lead the way in ecstasy overdose. Marijuana is common, but not nearly as prevalent as it is in California.
The Opioid Epidemic and Drug Addiction Rates By City
According to an opioid crisis report, the most deeply hit cities are clustered in the rural south, and also certain parts of the North East. The top cities abusing prescription opioids include:
- Elmira, NY
- Wilmington, NC
- Pittsfield, MA
- Panama City, FL
- Gadsden, AL
- Port St. Lucie, FL
- Amarillo, TX
- Pensacola, FL
- Oklahoma City, OK
- Charlottesville, VA
- Jacksonville, FL
- Jackson, MI
Florida made the list twice, which isn’t exactly screaming praises for the state that prides itself on helping people clean up their lives, get sober, and have a second chance. There are a few important things to consider when looking at Florida.
Look at where the problem is. Florida faces many social problems related to addiction. The cities mentioned on the list are nowhere near where affordable treatment options, which is predominantly in Palm Beach and Broward Counties. Also, when you take into account the extraordinary number of recovering addicts in the area, there is bound to be some slip-ups. Additionally, for many relapse is an unfortunate part of the recovery process.
Combatting the Opioid Epidemic and Skyrocketing Drug Addiction Rates in the U.S.
Unless you live under a rock, it is impossible to ignore the opioid epidemic. It has gone beyond inner-city poor people and is affecting everyone of every race, class, gender, and age. Opioid addiction and overdose does not discriminate.
Other drugs are a problem too, the prominence of each kind varies from place to place. No matter where in the country you live, changes need to happen in order to help address the problem and prevent more people from dying from addiction.
Individually, what we can do is stay vigilant and not be afraid to speak up. For people dealing with addiction personally, it is important to know that reaching out for help is not something to be ashamed of, rather it can save your life. For those with a loved one in addiction, be there for them and try to get them into treatment as much as possible.
Lastly, everyone needs to speak up about addiction whether or not they have dealt with it personally. Awareness opens people’s eyes and can help more people get the help they need so badly before they become just another drug overdose statistic.