Drug Use by State 2022


Alabama has one of the highest issues with drug use and drug recovery in the United States. There are over 98 retail opioid pain reliever prescriptions given out per 100 residents, which is an alarming number. To put things into perspective, there are 25 for every 100 District of Columbia residents, which shows the lowest per capita state. Opioids are an ever-growing problem that has been an issue for many years, especially in states that have lower access to education, or have areas that are more prone to poverty.

While it has long been thought that more urbanized areas have issues with drugs, this is not necessarily the case. Alabama is a largely rural state that also has one of the lowest cost of living areas in the entire country. With such a strong opioid problem in this area, drugs statistically impact the lives of everyone in the state, whether directly or indirectly.

West Virginia

West Virginia has over 51 drug overdose deaths per 100,000 residents in its history. This is 7.5 times the lowest state, South Dakota, which has less than 7 deaths due to drug overdoses per 100,000 residents. In the state of West Virginia, drug overdoses are increasing every year, and it is common to see issues on the news very often. There are huge issues concerning substance abuse disorders in the community. This impact does not stay confined to the individual who is using the drug, but the ripple is extended to their parents, children, and siblings.

It is estimated that 20% of West Virginia residents may grow up in a home where someone is abusing drugs and alcohol. The drug overdoses are not only caused by substance abuse but because West Virginia has seen an increase in the proliferation of fentanyl in their drugs. Fentanyl is known to be 100 times stronger than heroin, which can be lethal if ingested. Fentanyl is often added to drugs without the user knowing that it has been included to make their drug dependency higher. Of course, this can sometimes lead to serious complications, including death.

West Virginia leaders are working to add addiction specialists and quick response teams that try to get the individuals into treatment as swiftly as possible.


Vermont tops the statistics in two different ways. Vermont has the highest number of teens that use illegal drugs, which is around 14%. To put this into perspective, it can be compared to the lowest state, Utah, which has the lowest rate of 6%. Vermont also has the highest number of adults that use illicit drugs, which is just under 21%. This is compared to Utah, which has the lowest number of adults that use illegal drugs, which is 7.8%.

Vermont sits in the middle of the Northeast drug corridor, and dealers will travel between Philadelphia and Montreal (which are known as trade hubs), finding the towns within Vermont to be extremely profitable stops along the way. Vermont leaders want to focus on rehabilitation rather than jail time for adolescents and young adults.

Drug Use by State 2022