According to the personal finance website Wallethub’s newly released study Michigan has the second highest rate of drug use.  The District of Columbia in Washington was the only area that ranked higher than Michigan

I was unaware that Michigan’s drug use problem was as bad as this study presents as compared to other states.  In fact back in 2018 we ranked has the fourth highest state with a drug use problem and we were 10th in 2017.

The question is why does Michigan have such a drug use problem and how do we address this growing problem.

The United States has been at “war” with our drug use problem since the Nixon administration.  It is estimated we spent $23.8 billion to fight our drug problem in 2013 and that has grown to $27.7 billion last year.

The methodology Wallethub used to determine which states have the biggest drug use problem was comparing among the 50 states and the District of Columbia the three overall categories:

1) Drug Use & Addiction

2) Law Enforcement

3) Drug Health Issues & Rehab

The specifically looked at:

Drug Use & Addiction – Total Points: 50

  • Share of Teenagers Who Used Illicit Drugs in the Past Month
  • Share of Teenagers Who Tried Marijuana Before Age 13
  • Share of Teenagers Offered, Sold or Given an Illegal Drug on School Property in the Past Year
  • Share of Adults Who Used Illicit Drugs in the Past Month
  • Share of Children Who Lived with Anyone Who Had a Problem with Alcohol or Drugs
  • Number of Opioid Pain Reliever Prescriptions per 100 People
  • Number of Clandestine Drug Laboratories or Dumpsites
  • Overdose Deaths per Capita
  • Overdose Deaths Growth (2017 vs 2016)

Law Enforcement – Total Points: 25

  • Drug Arrests per Capita
  • Drug Arrests on College Campuses per 1,000 Students
  • Prescription Drug Monitoring Laws
  • Maternity Drug Policy (Is Substance Abuse During Pregnancy a Crime?)
  • States with Employee Drug Testing Laws

Drug Health Issues & Rehab – Total Points: 25

  • Share of Adults Who Couldn’t Get Treatment for Illicit Drug Use in the Past Year
  • Substance Abuse Treatment Facilities per 100,000 People Using Illicit Drugs
  • Admissions to Substance Abuse Treatment Services per 100,000 People Using Illicit Drugs
  • Naloxone Availability without Individual Prescription
  • Drug Treatment Programs Availability for Pregnant Women
  • Share of Addiction Treatment Medication Paid by Medicaid
  • Narcotics Anonymous & Alcoholics Anonymous Meetings Accessibility
  • Substance Abuse & Behavioral Disorder Counsellors per Capita

The study asked professionals the following questions:

  1. What are the most effective measures state and local authorities can take to combat the opioid epidemic?
  2. Why do American doctors over-prescribe pain medication? To what degree is this responsible for the current epidemic?
  3. What should family or friends do if they suspect someone has a drug problem?
  4. Do you think Naloxone – the drug used to counteract overdoses – should be readily available to anyone who requests it?
  5. Should the federal government require all rehab facilities to accept Medicaid as a form of payment? What other steps should Federal officials take to improve access to treatment?

Another question that comes to my mind is what will be the effect of legalizing marijuana?  Will it help or make this problem worse.

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