You’ve probably heard about the opioid crisis hitting America. More than likely, it was a far-off problem you never saw and for some reason unbeknownst to you had the label “epidemic” thrust on it. That’s probably as close as you have gotten to the epidemic, but it’s a lot closer than you’d think.
Before the last decade, drug problems meant things like meth or cocaine or several other problems. Now, with the rise of the opioid crisis, drug problems often mean something very different. To put it simply, opioids are used to treat pain. They are regularly prescribed by your local physician for things as simple as chronic pain or surgery, even the small ones like wisdom teeth removal. Opioids are dangerous because it’s very easy to get addicted to them, and your chance of addiction only rises the longer you use them. This has put people of all ages at risk for an addiction to something their doctor prescribed. When that prescription ran out for the people who got addicted, they went looking for it elsewhere.
Sadly, high levels of overdose come with high levels of addiction. In 2016, the nation saw about 79,000 deaths by gun-related homicides and car accidents combined. It saw 64,000 opioid overdoses. The government and law enforcement are scrambling to keep up with and adapt to the nation-wide crisis, but some states have it worse than others. According to research by WalletHub, these are the worst states.