Top 10 States With the Worst Opioid Problems

Opioid abuse and overdose numbers have reached epidemic levels throughout the United States — over 90 people die every day due to opioid overdose. It's not just illicit substances causing this problem, as prescription painkillers have also lead to fatalities.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH) published opioid-involved overdose death rates summarized by state to figure out which states have been hit hardest by the opioid crisis. These numbers are based on age-adjusted rates per 100,000 individuals, allowing researchers to compare states with variable populations more accurately. For example, states such as California have some of the highest numbers of overdose-related deaths because the state has a larger population. However, California ranks 36th overall when compared with other states' opioid death rates.

Why These Are the 10 States With the Worst Opioid Problems

Below are the top 10 states with the worst opioid problems based on the information published by the NIH for 2018.

1. West Virginia

While West Virginia has a relatively low population, it tops the list with the most opioid-related deaths. The age-adjusted opioid overdose death rate for West Virginia is 42.4 per 100,000 people. This equals over 700 overdose deaths per year.

2. Maryland

This East Coast state has an opioid overdose death rate of 33.7 per 100,000 individuals. Of the 6.046 million residents, 2,087 people died from an opioid overdose in 2018.

3. New Hampshire

While New Hampshire is known for its small communities spread throughout the state, the opioid epidemic has hit this state hard. The opioid overdose death rate is 33.1 per 100,000 individuals, and last year, drug overdose deaths involving opioids totaled 412.

4. Ohio

A variety of factors have contributed to Ohio's opioid crisis. Sadly, their opioid-related death rate sits at 29.6 per 100,000 people. This means of the 11.69 million people who live in the state, 3,237 have overdosed and died from opioids.

5. Massachusetts

Compared to other New England states, Massachusetts has the highest population, with 6.893 million residents. The opioid epidemic has brought devastation, with an opioid overdose death rate of 29.3 per 100,000 individuals. That's a total of 1,991 deaths.

6. Connecticut

While only 3.565 million people live in Connecticut, the opioid overdose death rate is 27.5 per 100,000 individuals. That's 948 people who have lost their lives to opioids.

7. Washington, D.C.

While not technically a state, the capital city of the United States is home to more people than some states. One hundred ninety-one people died from an opioid-related overdose in 2018. That's a death rate of 26.7 per 100,000 people.

8. Rhode Island

Rhode Island may be the smallest state in the U.S. by land area, but sadly the state's opioid overdose death rate is 25.9 per 100,000 people. That's 267 deaths out of their 1.059 million population.

9. Kentucky

Of the 4.468 million people living in Kentucky, there were just under 1,000 drug overdose deaths involving opioids. That's an opioid-related death rate of 23.4 per 100,000 individuals.

10. Maine

The United States' northernmost state on the eastern seaboard also struggles with an opioid death rate of 23.4 per 100,000 people. Out of a population of 1.344 million, there were 202 opioid-related deaths in 2018.

Get Help for an Addiction

If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction to prescription or illicit opioids, don't wait. The team at Diamond House Detox in northern California is here to help. Contact us today to learn more.