Tennessee ranks 14th among states and the District of Columbia for drug use, according to a study released Monday morning by personal-finance website WalletHub.
With the Trump administration proposing harsher penalties for drug offenders, the report on the States with the Biggest Drug Problems in 2018 aims to highlight the areas that stand to be most affected.
The study compares the 50 states and the District in terms of 20 key metrics, ranging from arrest and overdose rates to opioid prescriptions and meth-lab incidents per capita.
And though the District of Columbia ranked number one in drug use and addiction, DC ranked last in the number of opioid pain relier prescriptions with 33 for every 100 District of Columbia residents. Tennessee ranked number three in opioid prescriptions per capita, behind Alabama (121 per 100) and Arkansas.
Minnesota ranked lowest for drug abuse.
The rankings were based on three categories: 1) Drug Use & Addiction, 2) Law Enforcement and 3) Drug Health Issues & Rehab.
Those categories include a total of 20 relevant metrics, which are listed below with their corresponding weights. Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the biggest drug problem.
Drug Use & Addiction – Total Points: 50
- Share of Teenagers Who Used Illicit Drugs in the Past Month: Double Weight (~6.67 Points)
- Share of Teenagers Who Tried Marijuana Before Age 13: Full Weight (~3.33 Points)
- Share of Teenagers Offered, Sold or Given an Illegal Drug on School Property in the Past Year: Full Weight (~3.33 Points)
- Share of Adults Who Used Illicit Drugs in the Past Month: Triple Weight (~10.00 Points)
- Number of Opioid Pain Reliever Prescriptions per 100 People: Double Weight (~6.67 Points)
- Number of Methamphetamine Lab Incidents (population adj): Full Weight (~3.33 Points)
Note: The square root of the population was used to calculate the “Number of Residents” in order to avoid overcompensating for minor differences across states.
- Overdose Deaths per Capita: Quadruple Weight (~13.33 Points)
- Overdose Deaths Growth (2016 vs 2015): Full Weight (~3.33 Points)
Law Enforcement – Total Points: 25
- Drug Arrests per Capita: Half Weight (~2.78 Points)
- Drug Arrests on College Campuses per 1,000 Students: Full Weight (~5.56 Points)
- Prescription Drug Monitoring Laws: Full Weight (~5.56 Points)
- 1 – States with a prescription drug monitoring law that requires doctors to consult an opioid prescription database before prescribing painkillers.
- 0.5 – States with a prescription drug monitoring law that does not require doctors to consult an opioid database.
- 0 – States with no prescription drug monitoring laws.
- Maternity Drug Policy (Is Substance Abuse During Pregnancy a Crime?): Full Weight (~5.56 Points)
- States with Employee Drug Testing Laws: Full Weight (~5.56 Points)
- 1 – Authorized
- 0 – Currently Not Available
Drug Health Issues & Rehab – Total Points: 25
- Share of Adults Who Needed but Didn’t Receive Treatment for Illicit Drug Use in the Past Year: Double Weight (~5.56 Points)
- Substance Abuse Treatment Facilities per 100,000 People (12 Years and Older) Using Illicit Drugs: Double Weight (~5.56 Points)
- Admissions to Substance Abuse Treatment Services per 100,000 People (12 Years and Older) Using Illicit Drugs: Full Weight (~2.78 Points)
- Naloxone Availability without Individual Prescription: Full Weight (~2.78 Points)
- Share of Addiction Treatment Medication Paid by Medicaid: Full Weight (~2.78 Points)
- Narcotics Anonymous & Alcoholics Anonymous Meetings Accessibility: Full Weight (~2.78 Points)
- Substance Abuse & Behavioral Disorder Counselors per Capita: Full Weight (~2.78 Points)
Sources: Data used to create this ranking were collected from U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Project Know, the Pew Charitable Trusts, Guttmacher Institute, OHS Health & Safety Services, CVS Health, IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics, Recovery.org and Pro Publica