Drug Use by State in 2024 – WalletHub Study

With National Prevention Week around the corner and the U.S. having spent over a trillion dollars on the “war on drugs” since the 1970s, the personal-finance website WalletHub today released its report on the States with the Biggest Drug Problems, as well as expert commentary, to highlight the areas that stand to be most affected by drug addictions.

This study compares the 50 states and the District of Columbia in terms of 20 key metrics, ranging from arrest and overdose rates to opioid prescription use and employee drug testing laws. You can find some highlights below.

States with the Biggest Drug Problems
1. New Mexico 11. Alaska
2. West Virginia 12. Kentucky
3. Nevada 13. Indiana
4. District of Columbia 14. Tennessee
5. Colorado 15. Wyoming
6. Missouri 16. Mississippi
7. Louisiana 17. Vermont
8. Arkansas 18. Oregon
9. Oklahoma 19. Kansas
10. Michigan 20. Arizona

Key Stats

  • Alabama has 75 retail opioid pain reliever prescriptions per 100 residents, leading the nation. On the other end of the spectrum, there are 24 for every 100 Hawaii residents.
  • West Virginia has 90.90 drug overdose deaths per 100,000 residents. That is eight times more than in Nebraska, which has the fewest at 11.40 per 100,000 residents.
  • New Mexico has the highest share of teens who used illicit drugs in the past month, at 13.70 percent. That is 2.6 times higher than in Alabama, which has the lowest at 5.23 percent.
  • Vermont has the highest share of adults who used illicit drugs in the past month, at 27.53 percent. That is 2.5 times higher than in Texas, which has the lowest at 10.87 percent.