Opioid Epidemic By State 2019

In recent years, the use of opioids has been on the rise in the United States, causing an epidemic. Opioids are a class of drug that not only include the illegal drug heroin, but also legal drugs prescribed by doctors for pain. These drugs can help relieve severe pain but unfortunately are highly addictive, while withdrawals from not having the drug are painful. People that no longer have access to the legal drugs they are prescribed may purchase opioids illegally. Not only does this affect a person’s personal life and increase the chances for criminal charges, but abuse of opioids can lead to overdose … and even death.

The National Institution on Drug Abuse has released data for the opioid prescription rates and opioid overdose death rates from 2017. Based on this information, the state of Tennessee had the highest opioid prescription rate of 94.4 for every 100 persons. Oklahoma’s prescription rate was the second-highest in the nation at 88.1 per every 100 persons. Kentucky also had a high prescription rate at 86.8.

The opioid prescription rate by state ranked from highest to lowest is as follows:

The remaining 16 states did not meet inclusion criteria of this study.

When it comes to overdoses caused by opioids, the highest rates of death were in West Virginia, where 49.6 out of every 100,000 persons died from an opioid-involved overdose death. Coming in second was Ohio with an opioid overdose rate of 39.2. The third highest rates of death occurred in Washington, D.C., where the rate was 34.7.

All states with enough data to calculate opioid-involved overdose deaths, in order from highest rate to lowest, are as follows:

  • West Virginia: 49.6
  • Ohio: 39.2
  • Washington, D.C.: 34.7
  • New Hampshire: 34.0
  • Maryland: 32.2
  • Maine: 29.9
  • Massachusetts: 28.2
  • Kentucky: 27.9
  • Connecticut: 27.7
  • Rhode Island: 26.9
  • Michigan: 21.2
  • Vermont: 20.0
  • North Carolina: 19.8
  • Tennessee: 19.3
  • Illinois: 17.2
  • Wisconsin: 16.9
  • New Mexico: 16.7
  • Missouri: 16.5
  • New York: 16.1
  • South Carolina: 15.5
  • Utah: 15.5
  • Virginia: 14.8
  • Alaska: 13.9
  • Arizona: 13.5
  • Nevada: 13.3
  • Oklahoma: 10.2
  • Colorado: 10.0
  • Georgia: 9.7
  • Washington: 9.6
  • Oregon: 8.1
  • Minnesota: 7.8
  • Iowa: 6.9
  • California: 5.3
  • Texas: 5.1
  • Hawaii: 3.4
Rank State 2019 Pop. 2019 Growth 2018 Pop. 2010 Census Growth Since 2010 % of US
7Ohio11,718,5680.25%11,689,44211,539,3271.55%3.53%
15Massachusetts6,939,3730.54%6,902,1496,566,4315.68%2.09%
19Maryland6,062,9170.33%6,042,7185,788,6424.74%1.82%
26Kentucky4,484,0470.35%4,468,4024,348,2003.12%1.35%
39West Virginia1,791,951-0.77%1,805,8321,854,214-3.36%0.54%
42New Hampshire1,363,8520.55%1,356,4581,316,7773.58%0.41%
43Maine1,342,0970.28%1,338,4041,327,6321.09%0.40%