states and cities with high rates of drug addiction

5 Cities in the U.S. Where Drug Addiction is the Worst

If you live in the U.S., there’s a good chance that you or someone you know has struggled with substance abuse at some point. The opioid epidemic has hit nearly every corner of the country, and while some cities have been hit harder than others, no area is completely immune to this devastating disease. 

To help put things into perspective, we’ve compiled a list of the top 5 cities in the U.S. where drug addiction is the worst right now. These locations are facing some of the most difficult challenges when it comes to managing drug-related problems and helping those who are struggling with substance abuse disorder to manage their addiction and get back on track.

What Causes a Drug Problem? 

There are a few key factors that make a city a hotbed for drug abuse and addiction. Bear in mind that no two cities will be exactly alike, but the factors below can be applied across the board.

 First and foremost, a city with a high level of drug abuse will likely have high rates of poverty, low rates of education, and a high level of unemployment. These factors can make it difficult for individuals to find stability and sustain a healthy lifestyle, which can make them more susceptible to drug use.

 Furthermore, high rates of poverty can translate to less access to treatment, fewer services, and a less robust support network overall. While many cities have a high level of drug abuse, these factors can vary greatly from one location to the next. Certain areas of the country may be more challenged with one or more of these factors than others.

1. Dayton, Ohio

When it comes to the worst cities for drug addiction in the U.S., Dayton, Ohio, certainly ranks near the top. This city has been hit particularly hard by the opioid epidemic, which has affected every area of Dayton’s society. While this issue has become a national concern, Dayton has been hit particularly hard by it. In fact, Dayton has been ranked No. 2 in the entire country for opioid overdoses, trailing only behind neighboring Cincinnati.

Dayton has also been ranked as the No. 1 city in the U.S. for suicides. These statistics paint a grim picture of the state of affairs in Dayton. Interestingly enough, however, Dayton has actually been trying to address its opioid problem for many years.

In fact, Dayton has been trying to deal with its “epidemic” of opioid addiction since the late 1990s. While this epidemic has been slowly growing over the course of 20 years, it’s only recently that it’s gotten the attention it deserves.

2. Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Like Dayton, Baton Rouge has been struggling with its opioid epidemic for a while. In fact, Baton Rouge has actually been dealing with drug problems for decades. However, in recent years, the problem has become significantly worse, causing the state of Louisiana to declare a public health emergency. Baton Rouge has been hit particularly hard by synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, which has been responsible for a number of overdose deaths. 

Baton Rouge has also seen an increase in the number of infants born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS), which is an extremely serious condition that occurs in newborns whose mothers are addicted to opioids. The state has taken a number of steps in order to try and combat the problem, including equipping law enforcement officers with naloxone, a drug commonly used to treat opioid overdoses. The state has also implemented a program that allows individuals to dispose of their medications at pharmacies.

3. Los Angeles, California

The Los Angeles area has been struggling with drug addiction for decades, but the situation seems to be growing more dire by the year. While a number of factors have contributed to the rise in drug use, including the fact that drug dealers have been known to sell opioids such as heroin as painkillers, the state of California has seen an alarming increase in the number of individuals using opioids, particularly heroin.

 Los Angeles County has been hit particularly hard by this trend, with a significant number of individuals dying from overdoses and many more developing a heroin use disorder. The situation has become so dire that the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has declared an opioid epidemic in the area. Many experts have attributed the rise in opioid use to a growing number of individuals who have been prescribed opioids for chronic pain. 

While there are certainly a number of individuals who legitimately need opioids for pain management, there are also a large number of individuals who get prescriptions for opioids who don’t need them or who misuse them.

4. Newark, New Jersey

As opioid use has been on the rise for decades all over the country, the state of New Jersey has been particularly challenged by this trend. Newark, in particular, has been hit hard by the opioid epidemic. In fact, Newark has been ranked as the city with the worst drug problem in New Jersey, as well as the city with the worst drug problem in the entire country. 

Newark has been struggling with drug problems for decades, but the situation has seemingly gotten even worse. Newark has seen a large rise in the number of individuals who have developed a substance use disorder, particularly when it comes to opioids, heroin, and prescription medications. Newark has taken some steps to combat the problem, including expanding a program that offers treatment on demand, but the situation remains dire.

5. Phoenix, Arizona

While Phoenix has had a long history of dealing with drug problems and drug-related deaths, the situation has gotten significantly worse in recent years. In fact, Phoenix is one of the cities that has been hit hardest by the opioid epidemic. While many cities have seen an increase in opioid use as pain is under-treated, Phoenix has seen a significant rise in opioid overdoses. Furthermore, the state of Arizona has implemented controversial new laws regarding opioids, which has made it more difficult for individuals to access treatment. 

 The state has required healthcare providers to complete training on prescribing opioids, mandated that doctors check the state’s database of opioid prescriptions before prescribing opioids, and required pharmacies to dispense opioids in two-week supplies. While these policies are meant to help curb opioid misuse and abuse, they’ve actually made it more difficult for individuals to access treatment.


While drug abuse and addiction are certainly not limited to larger cities, it has become increasingly clear that these areas are in particular need of help. If you’re struggling with addiction, it’s important to understand that you’re not alone. No matter where you live, there are resources available to help you through the process of recovery. It can be challenging, but with the right support, you can make it through the other side and regain control of your life.

Trust the Experts

Addiction and mental health disorders can affect anyone. If you or a loved one are currently living with one of these issues, help is available! We encourage you to reach out to the professionals at Oasis Recovery to learn more about our personalized treatment programs and mental health services. Oasis Recovery was founded from firsthand experience of addiction and recovery, with a mission of providing a space where people can heal from addiction in a compassionate, creative, open-minded, and heart-centered environment. We believe recovery is always possible. Our experts work with you to design a treatment plan that fits your needs. Common treatment programs include:

  • Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP)
  • Full-time Addiction Treatment on campus
  • Aftercare Services

Contact us today for more information about how our programs and services can help you get your life back on track. You no longer have to struggle with this on your own. We are here to help. 

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