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The Opioid Epidemic in the United States

What are the 10 states that have the highest rates of drug overdose deaths?
For 2016, according to the CDC
Rate = deaths per 100,000 people (age adjusted)
Increase = increase since 2010
Last updated: June 05, 2018
Rate:
1:30
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Rate
Increase
State
52.0
80%
West Virginia
39.1
143%
Ohio
39.0
231%
New Hampshire
37.9
148%
Pennsylvania
33.5
42%
Kentucky
33.2
202%
Maryland
33.0
200%
Massachusetts
30.8
86%
Delaware
30.8
99%
Rhode Island
28.7
176%
Maine
+5
level ∞
Jun 5, 2018
Opioids such as heroin and fentanyl are responsible for the vast majority of these deaths. Drug overdoses now cause more deaths than murders by a rate of nearly 4 to 1.
+9
level 74
Jun 5, 2018
Alcohol kills far more than opioids, but you never hear about an "alcohol epidemic". Why is that?
+20
level 74
Jun 5, 2018
Lots of reasons. Alcohol can be consumed responsibly, and a modest amount can even be healthy, whereas no amount of fentanyl is good for you. That being the case, alcohol is legal, and drinking alcohol has been normal for thousands of years. Opioid deaths are from heroin and illegal narcotics cut with fentanyl, and deaths from opioids are a recent phenomenon. You can't really have a 10,000 year epidemic. People are used to alcohol deaths; they haven't gotten used to opioid deaths yet.
+5
level 68
Jun 6, 2018
Also, a far greater number of people drink alcohol than take opiates.
+14
level 74
Jun 6, 2018
Alcohol is not good for you. You can get the same health benefit eating grapes as drinking wine. There's nothing more responsible about it, either.
+8
level 69
Jun 10, 2018
…that sentence ending "whereas no amount of fentanyl is good for you": WTF? Because there is no responsible, health-benefitting use of pain killers? If you really believe that, I have a body crippled and destroyed by a debilitating genetic disorder I'd like to trade with you, or if that's not possible, a mountain of evidence demonstrating that pain is actually very, very bad for you (and no, not just psychologically).
+9
level ∞
Jun 6, 2018
There are about 2,000 alcohol overdoses in the U.S. each year as well as about 10,000 drunk driving fatalities. The rest of the deaths from alcohol are chronic diseases caused by drinking. In terms of life years lost, drug overdoses do more damage than alcohol. Not to say that alcoholism isn't a serious problem.
+5
level 79
Jun 6, 2018
Because since 2010 there's an insane increase in these deaths. That's less than 10 years and some places the amount of deaths has tripled. An increase of 100% means that something doubled. That's A BIG difference.
+2
level 78
Jun 5, 2018
Needs less time. If you allow 4 minutes for a 'Guess the US state' quiz, you can just trial and error through every single state if you have to.
+1
level ∞
Jun 6, 2018
Whoops reduced the time
+1
level 32
Jun 6, 2018
I disagree. I'd like to at least stand a chance at getting some of these down... I had no idea which states were affected most, and being an European I even struggle with remembering all the states. Scored only 3/10, and I'd like at least 2-3 minutes...
+1
level 69
Jul 2, 2018
I was guessing and typing any state and yet I still only got two of them. The time is not too much.
+2
level 74
Jun 5, 2018
I didn't have a clue on this one. Fortunately, I had enough time to type all 50 states.
+3
level 75
Jun 6, 2018
Interesting how concentrated it is towards the northeast US. From previous things I had seen, I thought it was more of a rural midwest problem - Missouri, Kansas, Tennessee, etc.
+5
level 47
Jul 8, 2018
Right, I guess the whole poor Southern white trash meth-head stereotype is generally a myth. I'll admit I guessed all the Southern states myself. The Southern and Midwestern US seem to be stereotyped more than any other region on Earth, with all of the stereotypes being horribly negative, of course. Not to say the opioid crisis isn't affecting southern Appalachia and the Midwest, but it looks like the facts disprove the idea that it's exclusively, or even mostly, a Southern problem.
+2
level 67
Jun 6, 2018
Taking this as a Brit, I was aware of the "Opiod crisis" in America but had no idea what states suffered the most. The answers are quite interesting, and not necessarily what I was expecting. Ohh and needless to say, I sucked at this quiz, but I knew that would be the case.
+3
level ∞
Jun 6, 2018
I knew that the Rust Belt / Appalachian regions were suffering. I was surprised that the Northeast states had such a problem with opioids, given that those states have high income, life expectancy, etc...
+2
level 77
Jun 6, 2018
Part of it may just be a sampling issue. Healthcare systems are generally better in the northeast; those states may just be more effective in reporting than other parts of the country.
+2
level 73
Jun 6, 2018
I knew about Maine's heroin problem. It's been bad for years. But not the others.
+2
level 69
Jun 6, 2018
It's been pretty bad in the Northeast, especially New England. It's usually old industrial towns that have been ravaged the worst.
+1
level 71
Jun 6, 2018
The HBO documentary on the opioid epidemic took place on Cape Cod
+1
level 75
Jun 7, 2018
For smaller population states which is most of the New England states and 6 of the ten on this list, a badly cut batch can have significant effects on the the percentages for that particular state. I know every few months you get reports on the national news about some spike in fatalities from a nasty batch.
+3
level 75
Jun 11, 2018
I live in KY and it is amazing that so many people here are affected by this and it isn't just the person that is using the drug. "Crack babies" are almost as common as healthy births. You see every day where someone is found passed out in a drive through lane with their kids in the back seat - a couple of times they have even had the needle still hanging in their arm. A local TV station recently interviewed a woman who had overdosed 17 times in the last five months. The demographics for the users are all over the chart from 65 year old grandmothers to 12 year old kids, ministers to hookers, wealthy businessmen to ghetto thugs. Yes I know the difference between opioids and street drugs, but the result of using are the same: misery, grief, and death. I also realize the necessity for legally prescribed drugs. My mother has been on a morphine pump for years after a botched back surgery left her virtually crippled. She is now 86 and completely dependent on the drugs. Is there an answer?
+1
level 60
Jun 14, 2018
@POOCH, I think with fentanyl pouring into the country from foreign sources, answers are limited since drug enforcement against foreign sources and gangs/cartels/etc. is a game of percentages at best. It's sad to think of how much of a problem this has all become. I've long seen alcohol damage or kill people, and more recently in my life, I have unfortunately seen illegal opiates do the same. This crisis has touched a lot of people.
+1
level 74
Jul 9, 2018
I think other drugs were favored in the south and midwest before opioids became easily available, but the preference of opioids is now moving into those areas. My niece is a probation and parole officer and she said heroin use is quickly rising in MO, and opioid pill addicts often move on to heroin. Big Pharma is one culprit, convincing overworked doctors that opioids were safe and the best pain solution for their patients. My daughter had a root canal done and was sent home with enough opioid pain killers to last a month. I also have painful medical conditions but I have found other ways to help with pain relief, and I refused to take opioids. Every patient has different needs and opioids may be the only option for some. I just wish doctors could take time to explore the options instead of quickly writing a 'scrip for a painkiller for those patients who demand they make their pain go away immediately and refuse to take any responsibility themselves for pain management.
+2
level 74
Jul 9, 2018
Actually, there are signs that progress is being made. I recently developed sciatica and the pain was bad enough for me to go to the doctor. I was surprised when all she gave me was a sheet of exercises to do. I was skeptical they would work, but after only a couple of days my pain was greatly reduced. A few years ago people I knew with the condition were prescribed painkillers. I hope this is a trend everywhere.
+1
level 57
Jul 9, 2018
As an American, I also had no idea where it was happening. However, I was able to get all of them by naming every state starting in the west coast and moving east.
+1
level 63
Jul 8, 2018
Surprised to see New England states on there
+1
level 65
Jul 8, 2018
I've done this quiz: https://www.jetpunk.com/user-quizzes/145559/us-states-by-highest-drug-overdose-mortality