Nearly half of all Americans have a close friend or family member who has struggled with drug addiction. Do you?
Drug addiction may involve illegal use of prescribed drugs or illicit substances such as opioids, but studies show punishing illegal drug use with jail time is less effective than detox or rehab for beating addiction. Resources, laws, and drug overdose death rates vary widely from state to state, so where people with drug addiction live can impact their long-term success.
TermLife2Go analyzed the best and worst states for recovering from drug addiction. We factored in the number of addiction rehab and detox facilities per 1,000 people and whether a state’s sentencing for drug possession offenses was harsher or more lenient than the national average. The final factor was the rate of overdose deaths, which could indicate how well a state supports recovery.
● Kentucky and Maine boast high concentrations of rehab facilities but have some of the highest overdose death rates in the country.
● Ohio and Pennsylvania have harsher sentencing practices for drug possession and among the highest overdose death rates in the country. South Dakota and Kansas also sentence more harshly but have among the lowest overdose death rates in the nation.
● Overall, our highest-ranking states favored non-prison sentences for eligible defendants in drug possession cases.
● North Dakota and Montana achieved some of the lowest drug overdose death rates. They also boast some of the highest concentrations of detox facilities nationally.
● Wisconsin has a high concentration of rehab facilities, but few detox facilities per capita.
● Despite high concentrations of rehab and detox facilities, West Virginia has the highest drug overdose death rate in the country. Nearly 13% more people die of an overdose in West Virginia per capita than Ohio, the next-worst state.
● Wyoming surpassed all other states for concentration of detox facilities and made the top ten for rehab facilities too. However, it’s one of just eleven states with harsh sentencing for drug possession.
● Texas, the country’s second-most populated state, has the smallest concentration of both rehab and detox facilities—as well as less harsh sentencing and the third-lowest overdose death rate in the country.
Breaking It Down
Most states with harsher sentencing laws for drug possession, combined with fewer rehab and detox facilities, have higher drug overdose death rates. Still, none of these factors taken individually predict how many people die of an overdose, nor do these correlations prove any factor causes another. It appears the path to alleviating drug abuse and addiction isn’t a simple formula.
Before You Go…
Now that you know how your state ranks, visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) website to find available resources near you. No matter where you live, drug addiction recovery for you or a loved one is a lifelong journey that no one should travel alone.
Did any of our rankings surprise you? Let us know in the comments.
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