The United States has long been known as the Land of Opportunity. With a productive economy,  readily available opportunities for education, and a widespread industry filled with prospective career paths, the United States has become a home for hopefuls looking to start a new life. However, the United States is also known for its medical, economic and social challenges, including addiction and overdose crisis. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 63,632 American citizens died from a drug overdose in 2016. That’s 16,577 deaths more than in 2014. With substances like heroin, meth, cocaine, marijuana and prescription opioids readily available, the amount of Americans who are overdosing from the consumption of these substances is rising on a daily basis. Although the overall drug overdose death rate has increased throughout the country, some states have significantly fewer losses using tactics that can be adapted by the rest of the country to limit drug-related deaths. Overdose death rates are defined by the CDC as being the average number of deaths per 100,000 residents in a particular state per year.

10. Mississippi 

Overdose Death Rate: 12.1

Known for being the home to legendary people like Elvis Presley, Oprah Winfrey and Jimmy Buffet, Mississippi stands on its own among neighboring states. However, according to Mississippi’s Clarion Ledger, the state has more opioid prescriptions than it does residents — so many that each person could consume one pill each day for 67 days and not run out. To help manage the epidemic, the Mississippi State Board of Medical Licensure is setting up drug testing requirements before purchasing prescribed opioids, along with a proposed 10-day prescription limit. Out of all the counties in Mississippi, the CDC reports that Desoto County and Harrison County had the lowest rates of death in the state, and their rates have elevated them above the national average. A total of 64 percent of the treatment facilities available in Mississippi accept state-funded health insurance and 95 percent are accredited by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA).

9. Oregon

Overdose Death Rate: 11.9

The ninth state on the list also happens to be the ninth largest state in the country. Oregon’s diverse geographical layout, which includes volcanoes, forests, deserts and large lakes, makes it one of the most beautiful regions in the country. However, Methamphetamine, also known as meth, has become one of the biggest drug threats the region has ever seen. The Oregonian reported that meth made up the largest proportion of drug arrests, with 15,308 of arrests made in 2016 involving meth. However, Oregon is encouraging residents to go to treatment, rather than end up in a prison bed. The Washington Post reports that the state is reducing punishments for first-time drug possession offenders. The goal is to encourage treatment rather than a prison sentence to provide necessary help. Meth is still a very popular drug in Oregon. With that said, the state is taking steps in the right direction, regarding lowering their overdose death rate. Columbia, Curry and Clatsop are the counties with the least amount of overdose deaths, but what’s even more impressive about Oregon is the fact that 88 percent of the facilities are accredited by The Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). Additionally, 69 percent of facilities accept Medicare for those looking to seek treatment according to the CDC.

8. Montana

Overdose Death Rate: 11.7

Much like Oregon, meth has become a top concern when it comes to drug misuse in Montana. A state report collected by NBC Montana determined that meth makes up a total of 31 percent of all drug offenses in Montana. Also, the Montana Highway Patrol reported that in 2017 alone, 57 pounds of meth were seized — more than 10 times as much as the amount seized in 2016. Montana recognizes the incline in meth use, so the Montana Meth Project was started by Thomas Siebel. The initiative aims to reduce teen meth use through service messaging, public policy and community outreach. Not everywhere in Montana is as heavily affected by meth misuse as some areas are. The CDC determined that Park, Lake and Ravalli counties had the least amount of overdose deaths in Montana with the least amount of overdose deaths. Fortunately, 78 percent of the state’s facilities accredited by CARF. This means that these facilities are meeting the standards when it comes to effective patient care, which can include the therapeutic resources available. Along with patients being cared for, some facilities in the state even help accommodate to the family. In fact, 90 percent of the facilities offer family counseling to ensure that a patient’s loved ones can find positive coping mechanisms when it comes to handling a loved one’s addiction.  

7. California

Overdose Death Rate: 11.2

Regardless of its struggles with a meth and heroin epidemic, California actively works to stand tall against the pressure to consume drugs. The state recognized as the home for trendy cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles, as well as Napa Valley and Silicon Valley, is finding itself overshadowed by growing drug problems and drug trafficking. In April 2018, Juneau Empire reported that a woman attempted to smuggle 82 grams of heroin and 276 grams of meth into Alaska. The California native, along with five others, conspired to to sell the drugs across state lines for a higher profit. The estimated worth of the drugs was $68,000. Making strides to offer a safe place to live, officials in California won’t let the Golden State be defined by substances. In order to manage the meth and heroin epidemics throughout the state, California plans to open its first two safe injection sites in San Francisco in July 2018, according to a CNN report. The sites will be fully equipped with trained staff to assist in the case of an overdose and offer counseling and other social and health services. The main goal of these sites is not to let residents safely inject drugs but show them that they have options for treatment and safety instead of unsafe and deadly practices. The initiative aims to encourage residents to allow professionals to help.The CDC reported that the counties of Calaveras, Sutter and Nevada had the least overdose deaths. With 80 percent of California facilities accepting Medicare, 78 percent accepting state-funded health insurance and 67 percent accepting Medicaid, those looking to manage an addiction safely have numerous payment options available.

6. Kansas 

Overdose Death Rate: 11.1

Kansas is known for sunflowers, farms and tornadoes, but the sunflower State is also beginning to be known for how they combat the use of heroin in the state. The United States Attorney’s Office: District of Kansas reported in April 2018, that six men were charged with conspiracy to distribute heroin throughout Kansas. These men face charges of up to a $1 million fine and 20 years in prison. With a widespread heroin epidemic across the state, the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services announced that it will supply $3.1 million in grants to help drug prevention and treatment.   According to the CDC, Decatur, Gove and Hamilton counties experience the smallest number of overdose deaths throughout Kansas. With 89 percent of facilities accredited by CARF and 96 percent accredited by NCQA, the resources offered can be effective with treating an individual’s addiction to well-known drugs throughout the state.

5. North Dakota

Overdose Death Rate: 10.6

North Dakota may distribute honey and wheat, but they’re also working to limit the amount of meth that can be found on the streets. The Bismarck Tribune reported that 434 meth-related arrests were made in 2012. Now that number has increased to 1,955 in 2016. Even though meth trading became more popular in the state, North Dakota is working to inform people at an early age.To keep youth and adults alike aware of the meth epidemic, the Rural Methamphetamine Education Project was formed. The primary goal of the project is to develop and demonstrate various ways to educate students, teachers, parents, children and communities on the dangers of meth. As for North Dakota, according to the CDC, the counties with the least amount of overdose deaths are Cavalier, Kidder and Sargent. A total of 66 percent of treatment centers accept Medicaid, 69 percent accept Medicare and 65 percent accepts state-funded health insurance. The amount of insurance assistance accepted in centers across the state help people living in North Dakota find affordable treatment options and reduce the amount of drug overdose deaths that occur.

4. Iowa

Overdose Death Rate: 10.6

Recognizing the growing opioid epidemic across the country, the state of Iowa has decided to take matters into their own hands. The Des Moines Register reports that opioid-related deaths rose from 162 to 202 between 2015 and 2017. Although the number of deaths has increased at a steady rate, the Iowa House is striving to reduce those numbers. The House File 2377 legislation now places limitations on opioid prescriptions and implements Good Samaritan laws for individuals who report overdoses. It also now requires physicians to submit their patient’s prescriptions electronically, as paper scripts can be forged much easier. The CDC reports that Ida, Fremont and Taylor counties in Iowa have minimal deaths due to overdoses. Something that makes Iowa stand out amongst other states in the country t is the fact that all drug rehab facilities offer Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and 95 percent offer group therapy. Not every state offers these kinds of therapy, so the fact that Iowa is very diverse in their treatment options may contribute to their low rates of lives lost due to substance misuse.

3. Texas 

Overdose Death Rate: 10.1

With the consumption of hydrocodone, oxycontin and other drugs, 1,107 Texans died in 2016 just from opioids, according the The Texas Tribune. While Texas may have a lower drug overdose death rate than the country as a whole, the state is making efforts to achieve the lowest spot on the list. In May 2017, the state was awarded a $24.7 million grant in federal funds to fight opioid addictions to help reduce the number of lives lost. The grant is expected to help an estimated 14,000 people through treatment, recovery and outreach. The CDC determined that Llano, Nacogdoches and Angelina counties have minimal overdose deaths. With 82 percent of the facilities in Texas accredited by CARF and 96 percent being accredited by NCQA, prospective Texans looking to enter recovery can feel at ease knowing the centers in their state are well organized and prepared to handle the opioid epidemic.

2. South Dakota 

Overdose Death Rate: 8.4

According to KDLT News, South Dakota has a 150 percent higher rate of young meth users than the rest of the United States. However, the state is actively working to lower that statistic. To help limit the meth epidemic amongst the Indian reservations in the state, the Native Youth Standing Strong community group was formed in hopes of discouraging Native youth from experimenting with meth and other dangerous substances. With the increase of meth use over the years, South Dakota works hard to reverse the trend. While Deuel, Lyman and Marshall counties have the least amount of overdose deaths, according to the CDC, what’s more impressive is the accessibility of therapeutic options: 94 percent of treatment facilities use cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and 97 percent use group counseling to help their patients in these highly effective methods of treatment. These efforts help combat growing overdose trends popular throughout the rest of the country and secure South Dakota as one of the states with the lowest overdose death rates.

1. Nebraska 

Overdose Death Rate: 6.4

Meth has attributed to almost 93 percent of all drug prosecutions in Nebraska in 2015 with 668 meth-related arrests being made. However, Nebraska works daily to combat meth use through various programs to educate communities on the dangers of meth consumption. These efforts, along with other drug-safety programs, help Nebraska top the list as the state with the lowest overdose death rate. One program in particular is Project F.A.M.E., which stands for Fighting Against Meth Everyday. The programs focus on community engagement and presentations through storytelling, comedy and informational sessions to teach teens and adults about risks of meth. As the state with the least amount of overdose deaths, it’s no surprise that Nebraska treatment centers helps manage addictions with varied therapy options . Dundy, Burt and Chase counties are all reported by the CDC to rank the lowest in the state pertaining overdose deaths. With 94 percent of centers offering family counseling, 89 percent offering group counseling and 98 percent offering CBT, Nebraska is working hard to ensure that those who are struggling can find the help they need. America is much more than its negative relationship with drugs may imply. This list reminds people that there are options available to combat substance misuse. With the proper educational tools, treatment resources, medical professionals and support system, substance intake can decrease nationwide. While treatment options and substance consumption rates are different in every state, these 10 states show that America has the opportunity to reverse overdose trends nationwide. The Recovery Village is dedicated  to helping people overcome addiction  by offering comprehensive detox and rehabilitation programs. With the help of centers like The Recovery Village, America has the opportunity to reduce overdose death rates overall.
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