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Addiction Across America

Addiction Across America

Navin Khosla NowPatientGreen tick
Created on 24 Jun 2024
Updated on 16 Jul 2024

Illustration depicting the title "Addiction Across America" with an American flag, pill bottles, pills, and beer bottles, representing substance abuse in the United States.

Over the past year, almost 47 million Americans have battled a substance use disorder, highlighting the enormity of addiction in the US. But which states have the highest rates of addictions, and where are people seeking the most support?

NowPatient, a trusted pharmacy online, has created this report to highlight the states suffering the most from addiction and provide advice on how you can find help for yourself or a loved one suffering from addiction.

Around 37.8% of cancer deaths in West Virginia are caused by smoking, the highest in the US

Infographic showing US states with the most smoking-related cancer deaths: West Virginia (37.8%), Kentucky (37.2%), Arkansas (36.1%), Tennessee (34.9%), and Missouri (34.4%). This highlights the severe impact of addiction across America.

 

Cigarette smoking is responsible for an estimated 480,000 premature deaths in the US each year. This comes at a cost of over $240 billion in annual U.S. healthcare spending. Tobacco use causes around one-third (33.3%) of all cancer deaths in the United States overall, with the percentage varying by state. Here are the states with the highest percentage of cancer deaths attributable to cigarette smoking.

1. West Virginia – 37.8% of cancer deaths caused by cigarette smoking

West Virginia has the highest percentage of cancer deaths caused by cigarette smoking. There were 1,339 cigarette-related cancer deaths in West Virginia in 2020, making up a shocking 37.8% of all deaths from cancer in the state. This would suggest that should residents of West Virginia give up smoking completely, cancer deaths in the state could fall by over a third. 

2. Kentucky – 37.2% of cancer deaths caused by cigarette smoking

Kentucky has the second-highest percentage of cancer deaths related to cigarette smoking. Over a third of all cancer deaths in Kentucky, 37.2%, are related to cigarette smoking — with 2,865 in total. Similarly to West Virginia, cancer deaths could potentially be reduced by more than a third if the state’s residents gave up smoking.

3. Arkansas – 36.1% of cancer deaths caused by cigarette smoking

Arkansas has the third-highest percentage of cancer deaths related to smoking, at a high 36.1%. This means that more than one in three cancer deaths in the state are related to cigarette smoking. In total, there were 1,741 deaths from cancer that were the result of smoking.

Table showing the top 10 U.S. states with the highest percentage of cancer deaths caused by cigarette smoking. West Virginia is ranked first with 1,339 deaths and 37.8%, followed by Kentucky and Arkansas, illustrating a significant addiction issue in America.

 

Infographic showing the US areas with the most alcohol-related deaths in 2022. New Mexico, Alaska, Wyoming, South Dakota, and Montana have the highest rates per 100,000 people due to addiction issues, with New Mexico highest at 43.8. This highlights a critical issue across America.

 

The vast majority of those who pass away from the long-term effects of excessive alcohol consumption lose their lives to alcoholic liver disease. There are an estimated 95,000 alcohol-related deaths in the United States annually. Over 47,000 are attributable to the long-term health consequences of drinking, while a further 10,000 of these are drunk driving deaths. Here are the states with the highest rate of alcohol-related deaths.

1. New Mexico – 43.8 deaths per 100,000 people

New Mexico recorded the highest rate of alcohol-related deaths in 2022, at a high of 43.8 deaths per 100,000 people. This is over five times the rate of Hawaii, the state with the lowest rate of alcohol-related deaths, which records just 8.3 deaths per 100,000 people.

2. Alaska – 39 deaths per 100,000 people

Alaska has the second highest rate of alcoholic deaths per 100,000 people, at 39. The alcohol-related death rate wasn’t always so high in Alaska. However, between 2019 and 2021, the rate of deaths due to alcohol nearly doubled, according to the Alaska Department of Health. Those years, 2019 to 2021, included the start of COVID-19.

3. Wyoming – 35.4 deaths per 100,000 people

Wyoming recorded 35.4 alcohol-related deaths per 100,000 people in 2022, the third highest of all states in the US. Despite being the least populous state in the country, Wyoming has one of the highest levels of alcohol-related deaths.

 

Table ranking states in America by alcohol-induced death rates in 2022 per 100,000 people. New Mexico ranks highest (43.8) followed by Alaska (39.5). Maine is tenth (22.9). This highlights the severe impact of substance abuse and addiction across the country.

 

Infographic displaying US areas with the most drug-related deaths in 2022: West Virginia (79.1), District of Columbia (69.2), Tennessee (56.1), Delaware (55.2), and Louisiana (53.3). This stark figure highlights the serious addiction crisis facing America today.

 

Over 100,000 people in the U.S. died from a drug-involved overdose in 2022. Opioid drugs, in particular, extremely potent synthetic opioid fentanyl, are the main contributors to these figures.

1. West Virginia – 79.1 deaths per 100,000 people

West Virginia has the highest death rate per 100,000 resulting from drugs out of the whole of the US. Almost 80 deaths are recorded per 100,000 people in the state each year — this is almost double that of Pennsylvania (40.7).

2. District of Columbia – 69.2 deaths per 100,000 people

The Capital of the United States of America, the District of Columbia, has the second highest drug-related death rate in the whole of the US. There are just less than 70 deaths recorded per 100,000 people in the District of Columbia. This figure is over 60% higher than the state of Washington, which records 37 deaths per 100,000 people.

3. Tennessee – 56.1 deaths per 100,000 people

Tennessee has the third highest drug-related death rate in the US at 56.1 per 100,000 people. The rate is still almost five times the rate of the lowest state, South Dakota, which records a rate of 11.4 per 100,000.

Top 10 U.S. states by drug-induced death rate in 2022 highlight America's escalating addiction crisis: West Virginia, District of Columbia, Tennessee, Delaware, Louisiana, Kentucky, Maine, New Mexico, Ohio, South Carolina.

California has the most addiction treatment centers in the US with over 1,200

3D bar chart showing US areas with the most addiction treatment centers: California (1,274), New York (665), Florida (584), Illinois (559), and North Carolina (501). This visual highlights the distribution of centers across America.

 

In the 20 years from 2003 to 2023, the diagnosis of alcohol and drug use disorders in the United States increased from 4.9% to 6%, with overdose deaths rising alongside this. It is vital that people suffering from alcohol and drug use disorders get the help they need to recover. In 2020, addiction treatment centers in the US admitted over 1.5 million people. Here are the states with the most addiction treatment centers.

1. California – 1,274 treatment centers

California has the most treatment centers in the US at over 1,000. In 2021, California consumed the most alcohol in raw volume at a staggering 88.6 million gallons.

The highest-rated addiction treatment center in California is the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation in Rancho Mirage, with a rating of 90.59%. It is also the third highest-rated addiction center in the US. Hazelden Betty Ford is one of the leading behavioral health care providers in the United States.

2. New York – 656 treatment centers

New York has the second most treatment centers by state in the US. During 2021, 30 New Yorkers per 100,000 died from drug overdoses, including 25 per 100,000 from opioid overdoses.

The highest-rated addiction treatment center in New York is the Phoenix House-Long Island City Residential in Astoria, with an 88.62% rating. This center offers two programs: residential and outpatient treatment. Adults of all genders are welcome, and programming is gender-specific and evidence-based.

3. Illinois – 559 treatment centers

Illinois has the third-highest number of treatment centers in the United States at 559. An average of over 5,000 deaths in Illinois annually are attributable to excessive alcohol use.

The Gateway Foundation, Chicago, is Illinois’ highest-rated addiction treatment center, with a rating of 87.22%. Its correctional treatment programs treat substance-abusing adults involved in the criminal justice system. Programs include in-prison treatment, community corrections outpatient care, day reporting centers, and assessment and intervention programs.

A table lists the number of total treatment centers by state. California leads America with 1,274, followed by New York with 656. For addiction services, Massachusetts has the least in the top 10 with 398.

 

West Virginia is the US state searching the most for addiction help

An infographic on a laptop screen displays the top five US areas with the most searches for addiction help in 2023-2024: West Virginia, New Mexico, Utah, Arkansas, and a tie between Montana and New Hampshire—highlighting the regions in America most affected.

 

The states searching for addiction help the most have been revealed by investigating Google search trends. A score of 100 shows the state most interested in addiction help on Google, while a score of 0 is the state least interested.

Here are the states most interested in addiction help on Google.

1. West Virginia – 100

West Virginia tops the list of states searching for addiction help on Google. Across the US, opioid overdose deaths accounted for 75% of all drug overdose deaths nationally in 2021. During the same year, opioid overdose deaths accounted for 83% of all drug overdose deaths in West Virginia, owing to the drug’s prevalence in the state.

2. New Mexico – 79

New Mexico has the second-highest search interest in addiction help in the US at 79. In 2021, over 3,000 New Mexicans died from drug overdoses and alcohol-related causes. Over 2,000 of these deaths were alcohol-related, and roughly six people die each day from alcohol in New Mexico.

3. Utah – 75

Utah came third in terms of search interest for addiction help. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, around 2.8% of Utah residents older than 12 had a past-year illicit drug disorder between the years 2017 and 2019, similar to the national average of 2.9%.

A ranked list of U.S. states by annual search interest in "addiction help" for 2023-2024. America sees West Virginia first with 100, followed by New Mexico with 79, and Utah with 75. The last on the list is North Carolina at 59.

Seeking help with addiction and the steps you can take toward your recovery journey

In general, you should get a checkup from a doctor if you:

  • Can’t stop using a drug or drinking alcohol
  • Keep using a drug or alcohol even though it’s causing you harm
  • Have done risky things under the influence (such as sharing needles or unsafe sex)
  • Think you’re having symptoms of withdrawal after you stop using drugs or drinking

And you should call 911 right away if you’ve taken drugs and:

  • Think you have overdosed
  • Feel like you might pass out
  • Have trouble breathing
  • Have seizures or convulsions (shaking)
  • Feel chest pain, pressure, or other possible symptoms of a heart attack
  • Have any other symptoms that worry you

Top experts say addiction is a medical condition, not a sign of weakness or a flaw that people overcome with willpower alone.

You can begin your journey to recovery by reaching out to somebody for help. This could be a loved one, a close friend, or someone else. You could let them know that you’re asking them for help because your goal is to safely stop using drugs or alcohol.

If you don’t feel comfortable asking someone close to you for help, there are other people you can reach out to. If you have a regular doctor, ask them or have them refer you to a doctor who is more suitable.

You could also get help from an addiction specialist. That’s a board-certified doctor or psychiatrist who specializes in caring for people with addictions. You can find out if there’s one in your area by checking the American Society of Addiction Medicine’s physician directory.

You could ask your doctor or an addiction specialist questions like:

  • How can I stop or cut back on using drugs or drinking alcohol?
  • What type of treatment might be right for me?
  • Once I get treatment, what can I do to avoid using drugs or drinking again?
  • Are there community resources that could help me once I’m in recovery?

You could also consider going to a local meeting of an organization like Narcotics Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous.

Another option is to call a helpline. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has a national line that’s free, confidential, and available around the clock at 1-800-662-4357. It doesn’t offer counseling, but it does connect you with a trained specialist who can refer you to local treatment centers, support groups, and community-based groups.

If you’ve had thoughts about taking your own life, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. It offers support that’s free, confidential, and available 24/7.

Methodology

Data was collected from the following sources:

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