UTAH (ABC4) – National Prevention Week (NPW) is approaching. May 8 through May 14 will serve as a national public educational period where communities and organizations will come together to raise awareness about the importance of substance use prevention and positive mental health, as noted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the organization behind the movement. 

To kick off NPW 2022, WalletHub released a report on the states with the largest drug problems to highlight the areas most affected by the issue. The company compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia using 21 key metrics, including arrest and overdose rates as well as opioid prescriptions and employee drug testing laws. 

Overall, Utah ranked No. 49 out of 51, making it the state with the third-smallest drug problem in the nation. 

Key findings from the study regarding Utah are laid out below (1 = biggest problem, 25 = average)

  • No. 28 for the share of teenagers who used illicit drugs in the past month
  • No. 41 for the share of adults who used illicit drugs in the past months
  • No. 17 for opioid pain reliever prescriptions per 100 people
  • No. 36 for drug overdose deaths per capita
  • No. 17 for drug arrests per capita 
  • No. 32 for share of adults who couldn’t get treatment for illicit drug use in the past year 
  • No. 48 for substance abuse treatment facilities per 100,000 people ages 12 and up using illicit drugs 

The study found that the top five U.S. states with the biggest drug problems are West Virginia (No. 1), the District of Columbia (No. 2), Arkansas (No. 3), Missouri (No. 4), and New Mexico (No. 5). 

In contrast, the study found that the top five U.S. states with the smallest drug problems are Minnesota (No. 1), Hawaii (No. 2), Utah (No. 3), Idaho (No. 4), and Iowa (No. 5). 

To view the full study, click here.