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These Are The Most Drugged Out Cities in America

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America is being hit by a wave of drug deaths like never before. From Heroin to pain meds, overdoses are taking a tremendous toll on communities across the country. Using public data, we’ve mapped drug overdoses and the cities they’re destroying:

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61% Of all Overdoses Were Opioid Related

In 2014, the latest year for data, 61% of drug overdoses were caused by opioids (Heroin and pain killers). 2014 is the worst year on record for drug overdoses: more people have died from drug overdoses then any previous year.

  1. Heroin Overdose increased by 26% from 2013.
  2. Overdose caused  by pain relievers (morphine, oxycodone, and hydrocodone) increased 9%.
  3. Death caused by synthetic prescription pain medicine such as Fentanyl and Tramadol doubled.


14 States See Record Rise in Drug Overdose Death


Between 2013 and 2014, drug overdoses increased dramatically in 14 states. North Dakota had a 125% increase in deaths from drug overdose. New Hampshire, which has been hit particularly hard by the opioid  and heroin epidemic, experienced a 73.5% increase in deaths. While there were many changes in drug overdoses, only these 14 states had statistically significant data. The five states with the highest rates of death due to drug overdose were West Virginia, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Kentucky and Ohio.

State Percentage Increase
North Dakota 125
New Hampshire 73.5
Maine 27.3
New Mexico 20.8
Alabama 19.7
Maryland 19.2
Massachusetts 18.8
Ohio 18.3
Virginia 14.7
Michigan 13.2
Pennsylvania 12.9
Georgia 10.2
Indiana 9.6
Illinois 8.3

source: CDC and MMWR.

Worst Cities For Drug Overdose

These rankings are based on cities with over  400,000 people. Because of the way the Heroin outbreak is affecting America, many small and rural areas are effected as badly as the big cities. While our map contains statistics for all drug overdoses, the primary focus of drug overdose is on opiates:

City State Deaths Death Rate
Dayton  OH 270 50.6
Baltimore  MD 271 43.5
Philadelphia  PA 527 33.8
New Bedford  MA 186 33.6
Birmingham  AL 217 32.8
Cincinatti  OH 264 32.7
Warren  MI 268 31.2
Knoxville  TN 137 30.5
Albuquerque  NM 201 29.8
Toledo  OH 122 28
Manchester  NH 113 27.9
Detroit  MI 487 27.6
Indianapolis  IN 250 26.8
Milwaukee  WI 253 26.5
Akron  OH 143 26.4
Camden  NJ 134 26.2
Kenner  LA 114 26.2
Pittsburgh  PA 319 25.9
Flint  MI 106 25.7
Louisville  KY 195 25.7
Providence  RI 159 25.2
Bakersfield  CA 215 24.6
Salt Lake City  UT 268 24.5
New Port Richey  FL 112 23.1
Cleaveland  OH 290 23
Tuscon  AZ 231 23
Oklahoma City  OK 170 22.2

The Costs Of The Opioid Epidemic:

According to a paper in the Journal of Pain Medicine , the yearly cost of the epidemic in the United States is

$20.4 Billion Dollars:

  1. Emergency Department Costs: $800 Million
  2. Inpatient Costs: $1.3 Billion
  3. Absenteeism Costs: $335 Million
  4. Lost Future Earnings: $18.2 Billion

Heroin Use Continues to Rise for Rich AND Poor

Heroin is an equal opportunity drug, and its use has increased among many demographics. The effects are devastating:

  1. Heroin Deaths rose 286% from 2002 to 2013.
  2. Male Usage of Heroin rose 50%.
  3. Female Usage rose 100%.
  4. Usage by users between the ages of 18-25 rose 109%.
  5. Usage by those aged 26 or older rose 58%.
  6. White people using heroin increased by 114%

Heroin users, both rich and poor, drastically increased their usage of Heroin:

  1. Those making below $20,000 saw heroin usage rise by 62%.
  2. Between $20,000 – $49,999, heroin usage rose 77%
  3. Above $50,000, usage increased by 60%.

Source: National Survey on Drug Use and Heath, National Vital Statistics System, CDC

  1. Between 2002 and 2013,  Overdose deaths have quadrupled.
  2. Drug Overdose Rates are now nearing or at the rates seen at the height of the HIV epidemic in the 1980s.
  3. The epidemic seems to affect more white, working class individuals.
  4. In many areas, the lead drug is not Heroin, but legal, opiate derived pain medications, such as fentanyl.
  5. Wait lines for rehab centers across the country are incredibly long. Anecdotally, one person reported waiting up to 18 months in Maine. By that time, many addicts are dead.

How We Created This Map

The CDC makes available cause of death data on their CDC WONDER system. We have removed remote areas of the country and focused primarily on cities and counties where most of the population lies. This also gives us better statistical data.

The death rate was calculated using methodologies described here.

We used the following ICD 10 Codes. ICD 10 codes are used throughout the medical profession to provide incredibly detailed causes of death. Specifically we used the ICD codes related to drug poisoning, which are coded as follows:

  1. X40-44 (unintentional overdose).
  2. X60-64 (suicide)
  3. X85 (homicide)
  4. Y10-Y14 (unknown intent)