Crime

NC in the top 20 states ‘with the biggest drug problems’

AP

North Carolina is ranked in the top 20 “states with the biggest drug problems,” according to the personal-finance website WalletHub.

WalletHub released a study on the States with the Biggest Drug Problems in 2017 on Monday, at a time when the White House is sending mixed messages about how it plans to deal with drug abuse. It has established a commission to study the opioid epidemic but is also proposing to cut the Office of National Drug Control Policy’s budget by 95 percent.

The study compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia using 15 metrics – from arrest and overdose rates to opiod prescriptions and meth-lab incidents per capita. WalletHub drew its data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the FBI, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, among other sources.

North Carolina came in at No. 20. The District of Columbia and Vermont had the worst drug problems, according to the study, and Idaho and Kansas had the least.

North Carolina leaders are focusing on the state’s drug issues in several recent efforts.

Dr. Mandy Cohen, the new state Department of Health and Human Services secretary, has made tackling opioid addiction in the state a top priority for the department.

Earlier this month, she sent a letter to doctors in the state, asking them to take steps to prevent patient abuse of prescription drugs. Gov. Roy Cooper’s budget also directed $12 million in community mental health funding toward addiction treatment.

Josh Stein, North Carolina’s attorney general, hoped to start a social media conversation each Tuesday about the rising opioid epidemic in the state.

As part of his interest in raising awareness about opioid misuse and addiction, the newly-elected attorney general invites people to use “#opioidsurvivor” on Twitter and Facebook to share personal stories.

To see the WalletHub report, go to wallethub.com/edu/drug-use-by-state/35150.

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