Breaking Bad may have been set in New Mexico, but if the producers were following drug bust stats, they might have skipped one state over. Because according to a recent report by DrugAbuse.com, Arizona has the most narcotics seizures, hands down.
Analyzing 26,488 media reports of local drug busts, their report “Seized” goes on to analyze by state the prevalence of local seizures of the “big four” – marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and meth.
Bad news for Grand Canyon state residents and enthusiasts: Arizona was the top offender in busts of marijuana and meth, third for cocaine, and seventh for heroin.
Given its border state status, maybe that’s not too terribly surprising. Especially considering the empty promise that making pot legal would somehow curtail the presence of Mexican drug cartels. It seems those illegal stashes are still coursing over the southern border.
How’s the rest of the country doing?
Nebraska had the second-highest instances of marijuana busts. Then came Delaware, Idaho, Vermont, and Wyoming. Perhaps surprisingly (or not, depending on how susceptible to surfer stereotypes you happen to be), Hawaii came in very last for marijuana drug busts.
Moving on to meth, after top offender Arizona came Idaho, then North Dakota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Oregon, California, Alaska and Texas. On the opposite side of the spectrum (and geographic direction), Delaware, Vermont, and Rhode Island all had no meth drug busts to report.
When it comes to cocaine, both usage and bust-age have plummeted significantly over the past seven years. In fact, from 2015 to 2016, the number of reported instances of cocaine seizure dropped by 24 percent. Drugs come in and out of fashion (spoiler: heroin’s back) and now appears to be a not-popular era for cocaine. The top three states with media reports of local cocaine busts were Delaware, Texas, and Arizona.
Which brings us to heroin. Interestingly, with the exception of Arizona (what is up down there?), the leading states for drug busts are almost all cloistered in the northeast. Delaware, Vermont, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island are all in the top ten. Alaska and West Virginia are the other two top ten offenders.
Of all the states struggling with heroin, Delaware’s problem is by far the most urgent. Rates of heroin drug busts are 33.4 times the national average, as the state deals with a genuine crisis of heroin use and addiction.
The report also looked at drug busts by county. Of the big four, the only northeast counties that came in the top ten for drug busts were for heroin. Alternately, meth busts are centered in the Midwestern counties.
One of the most encouraging findings in DrugAbuse.com’s report was that the number of drug busts has decreased significantly over the past six years, indicating that drug use is probably also down. And that’s something everyone – even Arizona – can celebrate.
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