Want to know if your workers are more likely to be under the influence of “mood-altering drugs?” A new study has state-by-state stats.
West Virginia is tops on the list with six southern states in the top 10.
The survey, part of Gallup’s annual “State of the States” series, asked:
How often do you use drugs or medications, including prescription drugs, which affect your mood and help you relax – almost every day, sometimes, rarely or never?
The states with the highest “almost every day” responses:
- West Virginia (28.1%)
- Rhode Island (25.9%)
- Kentucky (24.5%)
- Alabama (24.2%)
- Louisiana (22.9%)
- South Carolina (22.8%)
- Mississippi (22.3%)
- Missouri (22.2%)
- Indiana (22.1%), and
- Oregon (21.9%).
The three states with the lowest “almost every day” responses: Alaska, Wyoming and California. The 10 states with the lowest percentage of every-day users aren’t centered in any one section of the country.
Why the high use rates in the south? Gallup notes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found southern states are among those with the highest rates for prescribing narcotic painkillers.
Nationally, 18.9% of those surveyed said they used a mood-altering substance nearly every day; 62.2% said they never use such drugs; 18.9% fell into the rarely or sometimes categories. (Idaho is closest to the national average at 19.0%.)
Gallup also reported that those who use drugs almost every day have a slightly lower average Well-Being Index score (56.3) than those who use them sometimes (58.9), rarely (61.2) or never (63.6).
(The polling organization’s Well-Being Index measures perceptions of Americans’ own lives in five categories: sense of purpose, social relationships, financial security, relationship to community and physical health. A higher score is a better score.)
Gallup theorizes that a probable explanation for the correlation between drug use and well-being is that Americans who already have lower well-being are more likely to use drugs or medication to relax or alter their mood, possibly to cope with the challenges they face.
It’s important to note that some people may be taking these drugs legally, either for physical pain or to counter depression or anxiety.
Workers who abuse prescription painkillers are a safety risk to themselves and others, and have lower productivity.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a new webpage about prescription drug overdoses.