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By Erin Smith

With the nation in the grips of an Opioid Epidemic, President Donald Trump and US Attorney General Jeff Sessions are pushing for tougher sentences including the death penalty for some offenses.  The news was somber as it was revealed in a Wallet Hub study that North Carolina ranks 32nd for drug use by state. The state with the least incidents of drug abuse was Minnesota which was ranked number 51.

Each state and the District of Columbia were looked at in three categories: Drug Use and Addiction; Law Enforcement; and Drug Health Issues and Rehab. Points were awarded in each category.

The District of Columbia ranked number 1 with a total score of 62.97 points. North Carolina had a total score of 41.52 points and South Carolina ranked 33rd with a total score of 40.76. The state of Virginia ranked 38th with a total score of 38.61 points and the state of Tennessee ranked 14th with a total score of 48.78 points. 

In the category of Drug Use and Addition each state was scored on such things as how many teens had used illegal drugs in the past month, how many teens had tried marijuana, how many teens had been offered, sold or tried drugs in the past year and the number of overdoes deaths. In this category, North Carolina ranked 24th; South Carolina ranked 27th, Virginia ranked 43rd and Tennessee ranked 13th. 

In the category of Law Enforcement, each state was scored on such things as prescription monitoring laws, drug arrests on college campuses, and drug arrests per capita. In this category,  North Carolina ranked 34th; South Carolina ranked 49th; Virginia ranked 19th and Tennessee ranked 33rd.

In the category for Drug Health Issues and Rehab, states were scored on the number of adults who did nto receive treatment for substance abuse, the number of admission to substance abuse treatment services per 100,000 people, Naloxone availability and the number of substance abuse and behavioral disorder counsellors per capita. In this category North Carolina ranked 34th, South Carolina ranked 2nd, Virginia ranked 37th and Tennessee ranked 18th.

Federal officials, have steadily increased the federal budget from $23.8 billion in 2013 to more than $27.5 billion on 2017 in the hopes of making more services available to those needing it. 

To read the complete study, go to https://wallethub.com/edu/drug-use-by-state/35150/