Ky. in top 10 of states with biggest drug problems

Published 10:30 am Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Kentucky was in the top 10 of a dubious list naming the states with the biggest drug problems in 2019.

Kentucky was eighth while three border states – West Virginia (fourth), Indiana (fifth) and Tennessee (14th) – were among the top 15, according to WalletHub.

This study compares the 50 states and the district in terms of 22 key metrics, ranging from arrest and overdose rates to opioid prescriptions and employee drug testing laws.

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The top three were District of Columbia, Michigan and Missouri, respectively.

The study said the federal drug budget has increased since the “war” on drugs started in 1971 under the Nixon administration. The budget has grown from $23.8 billion in 2013 to more than $27.7 billion in 2018.

In addition to the issue of drugs crossing the border from Mexico, President Donald Trump has focused on the opioid crisis, declaring it a national crisis.

Here are some other statistics that came from the study:

• Alabama has 107 retail opioid pain reliever prescriptions per 100 residents, leading the nation. On the other end of the spectrum, there are 29 for every 100 District of Columbia residents.

• West Virginia has 57.80 drug overdose deaths per 100,000 residents. That is 7.1 times more than in Nebraska, which has the fewest at 8.10 per 100,000 residents.

• Rhode Island has the highest share of teens who used illicit drugs in the past month, at 11.81 percent. That is 1.9 times higher than in Utah, which has the lowest at 6.10 percent.

• Oregon has the highest share of adults who used illicit drugs in the past month, at 21.74 percent. That is 2.8 times higher than in North Dakota, which has the lowest at 7.81 percent.