States with the Highest Drug Use in America

  • West Virginia has the highest levels of drug use and issues in America 
  • Montana has the second-highest levels of drug use  
  • Oregon is third for drug issues in America 

A new study looking into drug issues within America has shown that West Virginia is the state with the highest drug use and issues to do with drugs such as deaths and DUIs.

Online recovery resource Addiction Treatment Magazine, collected and analyzed data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Data included the percentage of the population who have taken drugs in the past year, all drug deaths per 100,000 and opioid-specific deaths, as well as drivers involved in fatal crashes per 100,000 drivers and people killed in DUI (driving under the influence) accidents per 100,000 residents.

West Virginia 

The research shows that West Virginia is the state with some of the worst drug issues in America. West Virginia has the most deaths from all drugs (90) and also specifically opioids (77) per 100,000 people. West Virginia has higher levels of heroin use compared to many of the states (0.38%) as well as meth use with 1.46% of the population having used this substance.


Montana has some of the highest levels of alcohol consumption with 61% of the population drinking in the past year. 2.25% of the population took cocaine and 15% have used marijuana, both figures are above the national averages (2.08% for cocaine and 11.4% for marijuana). Montana also has the most drunk drivers involved in fatal crashes with 8.39 per 100,000 drivers, which correlates to the high figure of residents who are killed in DUI incidents with 6.92 per 100,000.


Oregon has the second-highest use of marijuana with 19% of the population having used it in the past year, while 3% also used cocaine and 61% drank alcohol. There were 26 drug-related deaths per 100,000 of the population and five drunk drivers involved in fatal crashes per 100,000 drivers.


The data shows that Vermont has the highest percentage of the population that has used marijuana in the last year (20%). As well as a high number of cocaine users (3.25%) and alcohol drinkers (64%). There are slightly fewer drunk drivers involved in fatal accidents per 100,000 drivers (3.5) and 2.7 per 100,000 residents killed in DUI accidents.


Maine has some of the highest uses of heroin (0.61%) and marijuana (18%) in America, as well as high levels of alcohol consumption with 59% of the population drinking. Maine has 47 deaths related to drugs per 100,000 of the population as well as 3.83 per 100,000 residents killed in DUI accidents.


Alaska much like the two previous states has a high level of marijuana use (18%), and it also has high use of heroin (0.6%) and meth (1.33%). Despite the higher use of these drugs, Alaska has a lower number of deaths per 100,000 (35), when compared to most of the states that feature in this list.

New Mexico

Only 12% of New Mexico uses marijuana, with 2% having used cocaine and 48% drinking alcohol. There are 51.6 deaths per 100,000 due to drugs, with 37.2 being directly linked to opioids. New Mexico does have higher levels of deaths due to driving while under the influence, with 7.37 drivers involved in fatal accidents and 5.67 residents per 100,000 killed in DUI accidents.


Colorado has the highest cocaine use in America with 4.46% of the population having used the drug. They also have high levels of marijuana use (18%) and alcohol consumption (64% drank within the past year). Colorado has fewer deaths than some of the other states in this list with 31.4 per 100,000 residents.


Delaware has the highest level of heroin users in America (0.63% of the population), however slightly lower levels of marijuana use (12.63%) and cocaine (2.39%). Delaware does have slightly more deaths related to drugs, especially those linked to opioids with 48 per 100,000.


Kentucky has slightly lower levels of drug use with only 10% of the population having used marijuana and 2.1% using cocaine. However, 1.3% have used meth which is higher than the national average (0.87%). Kentucky has 55 drug-related deaths per 100,000, and 5.33 per 100,000 drivers involved in fatal DUI accidents.

A spokesperson from Addiction Treatment Magazine commented: “Drug use in America has far-reaching impacts that extend beyond the individual user. It affects families, communities, and society as a whole. The physical and mental health consequences of drug use can be devastating, leading to chronic health problems, addiction, and even death.

“Addressing drug use in America requires a comprehensive approach that goes beyond punitive measures and addresses the root causes of drug addiction. This includes investing in education, prevention, and treatment programs, as well as addressing the underlying social and economic factors that contribute to drug use.”

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