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What Were the Drug and Alcohol Death Rates in Your State?

What Were the Drug and Alcohol Death Rates in Your State?

Author: Justin Mckibben

A reality that is undeniable in this world is that somewhere on the planet, someone passes away every day. It is completely possible statistically that while you are reading this, someone is taking their last breaths. It is part of the process; the circle of life. Nobody lives forever. Yet, one tragic truth we have today is that so many are dying because of something as insidious as addiction. Right now, somewhere someone is dying from a drug overdose.

In all reality, several people just like you and I will die of a drug overdose, or a related illness or incident, today. As death rates due to opioid overdose death escalate higher than ever before, we find that drugs and alcohol are the most lethal threat facing Americans.

Last year we did an article providing overdose death rates for each state. So with that in mind, we took the time to provide some perspective by giving you the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, as far as an entire year’s worth of statistics for drug and alcohol induced deaths.

What do you think is your states statistic? Where does your state fall on the scale of highest to lowest?

The following information is in regards to 2015, and the population figures for year 2015 are bridged-race estimates of the July 1 resident population, from the Vintage 2015 postcensal series released by NCHS on June 28, 2016.


  • Drug deaths- 5,025
  • Alcohol deaths- 5,150
  • Total- 10,175


  • Drug deaths- 3,377
  • Alcohol deaths- 2,489
  • Total- 5,866


  • Drug deaths- 2,732
  • Alcohol deaths- 2,073
  • Total- 4,805

New York

  • Drug deaths- 3,009
  • Alcohol deaths- 1,479
  • Total- 4,488


  • Drug deaths- 3,418
  • Alcohol deaths- 1,027
  • Total- 4,445


  • Drug deaths- 3,376
  • Alcohol deaths- 879
  • Total- 4,255


  • Drug deaths- 2,316
  • Alcohol deaths- 985
  • Total- 3,301


  • Drug deaths- 1,872
  • Alcohol deaths- 946
  • Total- 2,818


  • Drug deaths- 1,351
  • Alcohol deaths- 1,277
  • Total- 2,628

North Carolina

  • Drug deaths- 1,636
  • Alcohol deaths- 915
  • Total- 2,551


  • Drug deaths- 1,851
  • Alcohol deaths- 633
  • Total- 2,484


  • Drug deaths- 1,189
  • Alcohol deaths- 1,100
  • Total- 2,289


  • Drug deaths- 1,546
  • Alcohol deaths- 637
  • Total- 2,183


  • Drug deaths- 1,370
  • Alcohol deaths- 726
  • Total- 2,096

New Jersey

  • Drug deaths- 1,506
  • Alcohol deaths- 527
  • Total- 2,033


  • Drug deaths- 1,310
  • Alcohol deaths- 689
  • Total- 1,999


  • Drug deaths- 1,331
  • Alcohol deaths- 466
  • Total- 1,798


  • Drug deaths- 893
  • Alcohol deaths- 857
  • Total- 1,750


  • Drug deaths- 1,070
  • Alcohol deaths- 655
  • Total- 1,725


  • Drug deaths- 1,320
  • Alcohol deaths- 301
  • Total- 1,621


  • Drug deaths- 1,098
  • Alcohol deaths- 512
  • Total- 1,610


  • Drug deaths- 894
  • Alcohol deaths- 638
  • Total- 1,532


  • Drug deaths- 609
  • Alcohol deaths- 896
  • Total- 1,505


  • Drug deaths- 901
  • Alcohol deaths- 388
  • Total- 1,289

South Carolina

  • Drug deaths- 793
  • Alcohol deaths- 495
  • Total- 1,288


  • Drug deaths- 751
  • Alcohol deaths- 530
  • Total- 1,281


  • Drug deaths- 653
  • Alcohol deaths- 599
  • Total- 1,252

New Mexico

  • Drug deaths- 516
  • Alcohol deaths- 656
  • Total- 1,172


  • Drug deaths- 827
  • Alcohol deaths- 341
  • Total- 1,168


  • Drug deaths- 810
  • Alcohol deaths- 316
  • Total- 1,126


  • Drug deaths- 629
  • Alcohol deaths- 433
  • Total- 1,062

West Virginia

  • Drug deaths- 750
  • Alcohol deaths-193
  • Total- 943


  • Drug deaths- 667
  • Alcohol deaths- 266
  • Total- 933


  • Drug deaths- 332
  • Alcohol deaths- 344
  • Total- 676


  • Drug deaths- 425
  • Alcohol deaths- 242
  • Total- 667


  • Drug deaths- 349
  • Alcohol deaths- 278
  • Total- 627

New Hampshire

  • Drug deaths- 433
  • Alcohol deaths- 173
  • Total- 606


  • Drug deaths- 369
  • Alcohol deaths- 175
  • Total- 544


  • Drug deaths- 278
  • Alcohol deaths- 194
  • Total- 472

Rhode Island

  • Drug deaths- 318
  • Alcohol deaths- 146
  • Total- 464


  • Drug deaths- 224
  • Alcohol deaths- 240
  • Total- 464


  • Drug deaths- 139
  • Alcohol deaths- 199
  • Total- 338


  • Drug deaths- 152
  • Alcohol deaths- 194
  • Total- 346


  • Drug deaths- 127
  • Alcohol deaths- 161
  • Total- 288


  • Drug deaths- 208
  • Alcohol deaths- 80
  • Total- 288


  • Drug deaths- 175
  • Alcohol deaths- 95
  • Total- 270


  • Drug deaths- 99
  • Alcohol deaths- 152
  • Total- 251

South Dakota

  • Drug deaths- 72
  • Alcohol deaths- 152
  • Total- 224

District of Columbia

  • Drug deaths- 130
  • Alcohol deaths- 80
  • Total- 210


  • Drug deaths- 111
  • Alcohol deaths- 96
  • Total- 207

North Dakota

  • Drug deaths- 65
  • Alcohol deaths- 96
  • Total- 161

The total drug related deaths in America- 55,403

Total alcohol related deaths in America- 33,171

Then the total combined (Drug/Alcohol) deaths in America- 88,574

Analyzing the Data of Deaths

Again, these are the CDC’s statistics from 2015; the most recent comprehensive data they can provide. The year 2016 saw some of the most damaging spikes of overdose rates in some cities. Some reports show 2016 to have the highest rates of drug addiction in the history of America. So if we look at the numbers for 2015, it is truly heartbreaking that in all likelihood well over the 88,574 people who died in 2015 lost their lives in 2016.

Some states have seen a huge jump in drug related death. My home-state of Ohio saw 3,778 in 2014, putting them at 3rd highest rate of drug/alcohol-related deaths. That grew to 4,445 in 2015; an increase of 667 people. California held onto the 1st spot on the top highest with 9,562 in 2014, which shot up to 10,175 in 2015; an increase of 613 people.

Oklahoma actually saw a decline in drug-related deaths,  bringing their total drug/alcohol-related deaths down from 1,348 in 2014 to 1,281 in 2015. But they did see an increase is alcohol-related deaths. Mississippi also saw a slight dip from 548 total to 544.

But while some were more intense shifts than others, besides Oklahoma and Mississippi, drug/alcohol-related deaths increased across the board.


What can we take from this? Well, quite simply, that we need to be aware of the true threat that substance abuse poses to our future. If we can expect based on headlines over the year that 2016 was much worse, we need to ask where we are heading. What is being done to change our direction?

We can also conclude that substance abuse an addiction is not limited to any geographic or demographic. It is a very real epidemic. For more detailed information you can visit the CDC’s site and pull up a variety of statistics.

Addiction to drugs and alcohol is stopping so many people from living out their lives and giving to the world. But true recovery is possible. We have the power to change these statistics. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now.

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Are Americans Underestimating Alcohol?

Are Americans Underestimating Alcohol?

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Author: Justin Mckibben

America and alcohol have always had a pretty intimate relationship. There was a rough patch there for a while when some people tried to push alcohol out of the picture, but prohibition didn’t do too well, and since then alcohol has become a center-piece in the media and in every-day life. But as thousands of Americans can attest, the risks some of us run with alcohol are incredibly injurious.

Beer commercials, happy hours and pop music seem to saturate our lives today, but are Americans underestimating alcohol? Recently concerns have turned to the growing threat of opiate addiction and prescription drug abuse as public enemy number one, and understandably so. But are too many people forgetting the severity of alcoholism?

Average American Alcohol Poisoning

Federal health authorities have reported this week that statistics showed six Americans die from alcohol poisoning daily on average. This report is the first to tally alcohol poisonings for the entire American population put out in a decade by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Most previous analyses looked at certain groups, in particular young people, but this study found that the highest mortality rate went to middle aged men.

The agency conducting this research found some troublesome information about alcohol poisoning alone, and determined that:

  • An average of 2,221 people died of alcohol poisoning annually between 2010 and 2012
  • ¾ of the deaths occurred among 35- to 64-year-olds
  • ¾ of those deaths were men.
  • The death rate was highest among men ages 45 to 54

Dr. Robert Brewer heads the alcohol program at the CDC, and he explained how the study found the problem to be beyond what earlier studies had been so quick to concentrate on.

“Most previous studies have looked at college kids and young people, but the problem is bigger than that. It was surprising that the number of deaths was so concentrated among middle-age adults.”

Due to this recent information the CDC admitted that the issue of death caused by alcohol poisoning was much bigger than earlier anticipated, but said it was impossible to confirm whether the death rate had risen in recent years because researchers had changed how they track the data.

Average American Excessive Drinking

When some is consuming large amounts of alcohol in a short period of time, blood-alcohol levels rise very quickly, this can easily overwhelm the body’s ability to respond. Excessive drinking such as this can cause parts of the brain to shut down, including those that regulate:

  • Breathing
  • Body temperature
  • Heart rate

Binge drinking is most typically the common factor that contributes to these kinds of excessive drinking deaths.

Binge drinking or ‘heavy episodic drinking’ is frequently defined as consuming heavy amounts of alcohol over a very short period of time with the intention of getting intoxicated. To be more specific this CDC report defined binge drinking as:

  • 4 or more drinks in one “occasion” for women
  • 5 or more drinks for men

That example may surprise most people as being a very different definition than their own. According to that standard of binge drinking, over 38 million adults report binge drinking an average of four times a month! That definitely seems like more people are underestimating the dangers of alcohol. Yet the vast majority of binge drinkers (about 90%) say they are not alcoholics.

Average American Alcoholic Death

While the report suggests that on average alcohol dependence was a contributing cause in just 1/3 of the deaths, that is to say that the victims of alcohol poisoning were not diagnosed with alcoholism. Any alcoholic in recovery will tell you, it’s typically up to you to determine your alcoholism for yourself. Still 1/3 of the deaths are a big number.

  • Approximately 9 deaths per one million people is the average for the entire country
  • The highest rate of deaths from alcohol poisoning occurred among Native Americans and Native Alaskans, with 49 deaths per one million
  • Non-Hispanic whites made up 67%

Average Underestimation of Alcohol

Professor David Nutt, Edmund J Safra Professor of Neuropsychopharmacology and Head of the Department of Neuropsychopharmacology and Molecular Imaging at Imperial College London conducted a study in his own country that determined alcohol was actually the most dangerous drug there is.

Using a system based on 16 measures of impact on the individual, their community and society as a whole, he found that alcohol had the greatest negative impact. Alcohol ranked top out of 20 other drugs including heroin and ecstasy.

Most people aren’t aware of some interesting information about alcohol, such as:

  • Alcohol increases the risk of a traffic accident 13 times over, whereas other drugs double to triple the risk.
  • It takes less relative doses to die from alcohol than it does to die from marijuana and even cocaine
  • Alcohol causes more fatal traffic accidents than other drugs – in 2010 alcohol caused more than 10,000 traffic fatalities

According to statistics from another study, 24 million adults over age 18 make up the top 10% of American drinkers. This demographic on average consumes 74 alcoholic drinks per week, that’s actually 10 alcoholic drinks per day. So just think about that in correlation with how the CDC reports defines binge drinking with 4 or 5 drinks.

Alcohol is a drug. Most people don’t seem to acknowledge that, but it is the reality. By definition of the word ‘drug’ it definitely qualifies alcohol. Too many people, American or not, are under the false impression that alcohol is a much safer drug. But that is only stigma, because alcohol is easily considered the most dangerous because it is legal and available, and it kills the users and has the potential to kill others around them. Drunk driving alone claims so many lives alone.

We need to stop underestimating alcohol as a culture, and do what we can to raise awareness, innovate treatment and better understand those who are struggling.

Alcohol is a drug, and alcoholism is a disease. America is known as the land of the freedom, but alcoholics find themselves trapped and oppressed by the disease of alcoholism, and sadly it takes the lives of many people every day. Recovery from alcoholism is a reality, and in that reality we find the freedom that is part of that American dream. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135

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