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Report: Louisiana Ranks 15th Nationwide for Biggest Drug Problem

From the “just say no” Reagan-isms of the 80’s and President Bill “I didn’t inhale” Clinton in the 90's to Obama’s admission of marijuana usage, to Trump’s staunch denial of any substance whatsoever, America’s war on drugs has been a decades long battle often shaped by its leaders. On Monday, a new report revealed the extent of the country’s addiction issues. Drug Use By State: 2017’s Problem Areas revealed that Louisiana is among the states with the largest drug problem. 


WalletHub conducted the survey, analyzing the fifty states and the District of Columbia on key criteria including adolescent drug usage, illicit and prescription drug abuse, law enforcement reactions to drug offense, and growth trends related to overdose deaths. The team of researchers drew upon data from the FBI, DEA, U.S. Census Bureau, and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), among other administrations. 


According to the findings, Louisiana’s final score was 46.56 — ranking 15th on the list. The Boot was one of four Southeastern U.S. states included in the top 20, alongside the District of Columbia (in first place), West Virginia (12th), and North Carolina (20th). 


Louisiana ranked 26th on the list for overall Drug Use & Addiction trends. The state has among the highest percentages of drug use among teenagers, with over a quarter of teenagers reporting being offering, sold, or given illegal drugs on school property in the past month. Louisiana also statistically sees 19 overdose related deaths per 100,000 residents. The study also noted a consistent growth in overdose-related deaths. Between 2014 and 2015, a 12.43 percent increase was noted for drug-related fatalities. 


The state also ranked 21st for Drug Health Issues & Rehabilitation. According to a more in-depth metric in the study, there are slightly under 33 substance abuse treatment facilities (32.72) per 100,000 people in Louisiana. WalletHub also reported ust above 19 admissions to substance abuse treatment services (19.11) per 100,000 people. 


While a separate study from WalletHub revealed that Louisiana is the worst place in the United States to be a member of law enforcement — today, the research team revealed that state police are particularly aggressive about tackling rising drug trends, ranking 7th in the country. Further findings revealed that Louisiana ranked 5th for most drug arrests per capita, and holds second place for prescription drug monitoring laws. 


Recent years have seen a rise in heroin-related overdose deaths not just in Louisiana, but across the nation. Last year, the number of deaths from the prescription opioid fentanyl exceeded the murder rate in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In an effort to combat opiate overdoses, the Louisiana Department of Health issued a standing order to make Naloxone an over-the-counter drug, as of January 2017. In April, it was announced that the Louisiana Department of Health will receive over $8.1 million from SAMHSA to fight rising opioid addiction in the state. 


Check out WalletHub's graphic below to see where all the states rank. 

Source: WalletHub

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