DENVER (KDVR) — Colorado has one of the worst drug problems in the country, according to analysts, and the worst piece of the puzzle involves law enforcement.
Financial advice site WalletHub‘s researchers analyzed three aspects of the issue – drug use, drug health issues and rehabilitation, and law enforcement. These include 20 separate metrics from federal and nonprofit data such as the rates of teen and adult use, overdose rates and their recent growth, drug arrest rates and policies, and rehabilitation accessibility.
Each metric was given a weighted score among U.S. states and lumped into an overall score. Colorado ranks 5th overall – just behind Louisiana and ahead of Missouri.
Among the three broad categories, it isn’t Colorado’s drug use directly that makes it score so highly on the list of issues. It ranks 17th for drug use and 17th for drug health and rehabilitation.
It ranks 4th in the U.S. for law enforcement, meaning the fourth highest combined rates of drug arrests, drug arrests on campuses, and the presence of employment and maternity-related drug laws.
There is not a strong regional correlation among the states with the highest or lowest overall scores. Hawaii, Utah, Florida, Minnesota and Idaho have the lowest overall scores for drug issues, while New Mexico, West Virginia, the District of Columbia, Louisiana and Colorado have the highest. Generally, states in the South and lower Midwest tend to have higher rates, while upper Midwest states have lower rates.