In October 2017, President Donald Trump declared the opioid crisis a national public health emergency. The declaration followed a dramatic increase in drug overdose deaths involving opioids in the United States — such overdose deaths rose approximately fivefold from 2000 to 2016. Over that period, more than 600,000 Americans died from drug overdoses.
The death toll from drug overdoses in 2016 alone surpassed that of the worst year of AIDS-related deaths in 1995 and the entirety of American lives lost in the Vietnam War. While the opioid epidemic has taken lives and tore through nearly every community in America, some parts of the country have been affected far worse than others. The most vulnerable areas are often those with low incomes and low educational attainment, as well as high poverty and unemployment.
To determine the counties with the worst drug problem in every state, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the number of drug-induced deaths — which include unintentional overdoses, suicide, homicide, and undetermined causes — per 100,000 residents for the period 2012 to 2016 with data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s WONDER web application.