CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – West Virginia’s struggle with drugs and overdoses is not new. Just in April, several pounds of harmful drugs were seized by law enforcement in north central West Virginia. But the Mountain State still suffers a terrifying percentage of overdoses and drug use.
A recent Wallethub study ranked all the states based on drug use, law enforcement involving drugs, and drug health issues. West Virginia was ranked worst overall. According to the ranking, West Virginia has the fourth most drug use and addiction in the country, and the third-worst law enforcement when it comes to drugs. Law enforcement includes the number of arrests, laws against drugs and laws requiring drug testing, not just police presence.
In subcategories, West Virginia was ranked highest for most overdose deaths per capita. The CDC predicted 1,515 deaths from overdose between July 2020 and July 2021 according to preliminary data in the National Vital Statistics System.
West Virginia is also one of five states with the fewest people receiving treatment for substance abuse, despite its high level of drug use.
One of the criteria for the law enforcement category was the number of drug arrests on college campuses in the state per 1,000 students. Between 2018 and 2020, West Virginia University reported over 400 arrests for drugs on its Morgantown campus:
- 169 in 2018
- 179 in 2019
- 100 in 2020
635 drug abuse violations were reported in those same years with 448 ending in arrests, according to WVU’s annual 2021 security report.
According to the ranking, Washington, D.C. has the worst drug use and addiction, Missouri has the worst law enforcement for drugs, and Nevada has the most drug health issues.
Minnesota, Hawaii and Utah were states with the least drug addiction and problems.