May 15, 2017

Mass. has 9th worst drug problem in U.S.

PHOTO/NATHAN FISKE
Positive tests for opiates in the workforce have been rising, another reason treatment centers like TaraVista in Devens have been opening over the last two years.

High usage and poor access to treatment for addiction in Massachusetts put the Bay State near the top of a WalletHub list for states with the biggest drug problems in the U.S.

Massachusetts was ranked ninth on the list, mostly because of poor access to care, a high level of overdose deaths per capita, and a high usage rate among adults. The commonwealth also fared worse than the national average for teen drug use but did better than most other states on drugs in the schools.

All six New England states were ranked highly on the list. Vermont has the second biggest drug problem in the U.S., Rhode Island came in at fifth, and Connecticut was seventh. New Hampshire (11th) and Maine (17th) fared better than Massachusetts. The District of Columbia has the country's worst drug problem, according to WalletHub.

While the state has put a lot of resources towards fighting the opioid epidemic, the federal government is less clear on the issue. The White House established a commission to study the opioid epidemic, but at the same time plans to cut the budget of the Office of National Drug Control Policy by 95 percent, according to WalletHub.

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