Special Report

States Using the Most Mind-Altering Drugs

welcome to oklahoma highway state sign
Source: Thinkstock

10. Oklahoma
> Near-daily drug use: 21.8%
> Median household income: $48,568 (12th lowest)
> Avg. poor mental health days per month: 4.1 (11th highest)
> 2016 unemployment rate: 4.9% (tied — 20th highest)

While an estimated 18.9% of Americans report using mood-altering drugs on an almost daily basis, 21.8% of the Oklahoma population reports such frequent usage. Drug use is often tied to stress, which can be exacerbated by poor health and economic conditions. In Oklahoma, 33.9% of adults are obese and 11.6% have diabetes, among the largest shares nationwide. Also, the median annual household income in the state is just $48,568, and just 84.6% of residents are insured, compared to $55,775 and 88.3% nationwide. With such low income and insurance coverage, Oklahoma residents may be less likely to afford quality, preventive medical care for such poor health conditions.

Lake Side Park, Rose Garden, Fort Wayne, Indiana, Night Shot
Source: Thinkstock

9. Indiana
> Near-daily drug use: 21.9%
> Median household income: $50,532 (16th lowest)
> Avg. poor mental health days per month: 4.3 (6th highest)
> 2016 unemployment rate: 4.4% (21st lowest)

Survey participants were not told specific drugs to consider in their answers, so substances used by daily drug users could include anything from tobacco to prescription medications. Prescription drug use in Indiana, at 13.4 prescriptions filled per resident annually, while higher than the national average of 12.7 per capita, is lower compared with other states on this list. On the other hand, Indiana is similar to most states on this list in its high adult smoking rate of 23.4%, which is one of the highest in the nation.

The Scioto river reflects Downtown Columbus Ohio buildings. The Lights of the Broad Street Bridge are seen in the foreground spanning the Scioto River. This view is from the Scioto Mile Riverfront Park path. The inner-city lights are reflected onto the calm river causing a mirrored effect on the waterfront in the Columbus Ohio Downtown Business District. HDR has brought out the vivid colors seen here shot in the Fall.
Source: Thinkstock

8. Ohio
> Near-daily drug use: 22.0%
> Median household income: $51,075 (17th lowest)
> Avg. poor mental health days per month: 4.3 (6th highest)
> 2016 unemployment rate: 4.9% (tied — 20th highest)

Daily drug users are not necessarily abusing their chosen substances. In Ohio, however, the share of the population reporting daily drug use coincides with one of the nation’s worst drug overdose problems. There were 3,310 drug overdose deaths in Ohio in 2015, or 30 for every 100,000 state residents, the second highest number and third highest proportion of all states.

A significant portion of daily drug users are using prescribed medications. For every Ohio resident, 17.5 prescriptions are filled annually, the sixth highest such rate of all states. By contrast, 12.7 prescriptions are filled per capita nationwide on average.

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