Addiction Counseling Across the US - Cities With the Best and Worst Addiction Counseling

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Addiction is a very real problem in America – and one that is growing. Statistics show since 1990 the number of drug overdose deaths have more than tripled, while drug and alcohol addictions cost the United States economy more than $600 billion annually. An even more distressing statistic is that of the 21 million Americans battling addiction, just 10% receive counseling and treatment.1

While the reasons for not receiving treatment vary, it is apparent that people from coast to coast have a need for addiction counseling that is going unfulfilled. Among other reasons, a lack of desire or access to counseling can contribute to these needs remaining unmet.

At Grand Canyon University, our position as educators has helped us recognize the need for better addiction counseling services and resources across the country. For that reason we, along with help from Grand Canyon Education, wanted to map out some of the places in America with the greatest need for addiction counselors and counseling. Hopefully, this research can better explain to addiction counselors, experts and legislators where help is needed the most. You’ll be able to see the full methodology and list of sources at the bottom of this page.

Graphic depicting the US cities with the greatest need for addiction counseling.

Sources: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

The U.S. cities with the greatest need for addiction counseling were determined through an analysis of the biggest U.S. cities across eight data points or metrics.

We analyzed 50 of America’s biggest cities across categories relating to the number of addiction counseling resources available, addiction rates and rate of arrests for drug-related crime in each city. Each city earned a score of zero to five for eight different factors.

Those factors were then weighted to produce a final score for each city on a scale of 0-100, with higher scores indicating a greater need for addiction counseling. Once we scored each of the cities in our analysis, we created the map above to visualize the 20 highest-scoring cities in America.

Las Vegas took the top spot, a full 11 points clear of the next-highest scoring city, Oklahoma City. The nation’s highest unemployment rate as well as the lowest level of competition for substance abuse counseling jobs and the second-lowest rate of substance abuse counselors per capita all heavily contributed to Las Vegas’ high score in this analysis.

Graphic showing top cities with the greatest need for addiction counseling.

Sources: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Looking beyond Las Vegas, we also spotlighted the second and third place cities of Oklahoma City and Buffalo, New York. OKC’s finish was fueled by the second-highest rate of drug labs and dump sites per capita in the country, as well as the second-highest number of opioid prescriptions per 100 people in America. Buffalo finished in third place thanks to a top-10 unemployment rate, as well as the second-highest number of drug arrests per capita in the country.

Sources: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

The interactive table above contains the raw data for each of the 50 cities we analyzed and their corresponding factor score. Scrolling sideways as well as up and down will reveal more data. You can search for a specific city or state, too.

Map depicting addiction counseling needs by state via a heat map of the US.

Sources: 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19

By running a similar analysis for every single state in America, we evaluated each state according to 10 different factors. The 10 factors chosen for the state analysis were weighted to produce a score from 0-100 in each state. Using those rankings, we were able to create the heat map you see above to highlight national trends.

Graphic showing US states that have the greatest needs for addiction counseling.

Sources: 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19

It’s important to examine some of the specific factors accounting for high scores in states that finished with the biggest need scores in our analysis. Here we specifically focused on the top five states with the greatest need for addiction counseling.

The top two states, Arkansas and Tennessee, are actually connected to one another. Both are in the top 10 states when it comes to their respective rates of opioid prescriptions per 100 people, drug abuse violations per capita, and the number of drug labs and dump sites per capita.

Nevada, which is where the city with the greatest need for addiction counseling in the country (Las Vegas) is, finished third, spurred to that level by top five placements when it comes to unemployment, the number of substance abuse counselors available, and job competition for counseling jobs. South Carolina finished fourth, largely thanks to holding the worst scores in the country when it comes to the number of abuse counselors per capita and competition for counseling jobs.

Sources: 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19

We compiled this interactive table featuring the full raw data and factor scores for every state in the country. You can search for specific factors or states using the blank search box.

We urge those interested in learning more about where addiction counseling services are needed most to consider pursuing a career on the front lines of the war on drugs. It’s a very real problem facing the United States – one that we feel deserves more attention, resources and support to combat. Grand Canyon University offers both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in the field of addiction counseling, helping to educate present and future generations of counselors.

Sources

1Retrieved from: https://www.addictioncenter.com/addiction/addiction-statistics/ in December 2020.

Full Methodology

City Ranking Factors, Weights and Data Sources:

2Retrieved from: Unemployment Rate (factor weight: 2.5)-Bureau Of Labor Statistics, August 2020 Unemployment Report in October 2020.

3Retrieved from: Number Of Substance Abuse Counselors Per 100K People (factor weight: 2.5) -Bureau Of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment And Wages Report, Published May 2019 in September 2020.

4Retrieved from: Number Of Opioid Prescriptions Per 100 People (factor weight: 2.5)-CDC, 2018 County Level Data in September 2020.

5Retrieved from: Job Quotient/Competition For Substance Abuse Counseling Jobs (factor weight: 2.5)-Bureau Of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment And Wages Report, Published May 2019 in September 2020.

6Retrieved from: Combined Number Of Local Alcoholics Anonymous And Narcotics Anonymous Meetings Per 100K People (factor weight: 2.5)-Manually Compiled Using The Official Alcoholics Anonymous And Narcotics Anonymous Websites, Count Performed in September 2020.

7Retrieved from: Number Of Substance Abuse Treatment Facilities Per 100K People (factor weight: 2.5)-Yelp, Searches Performed in September 2020.

8Retrieved from: Number Of Drug Labs And Dumpsites Per 100K People (factor weight: 2.5)-DEA.gov in September 2020.

9Retrieved from: The Number Of Drug Arrests Per 100K People (factor weight: 2.5)-FBI’s Crime Data Explorer, City Police Drug Arrest Data Used For The Most Recently Reported Year, Except Where City Data Is Unavailable, In Which Case County Sheriff’s Office Data Is Used For The Most Recently Reported Year in November 2020.

State Ranking Factors, Weights and Data Sources:

10Retrieved from: Unemployment Rate (factor weight: 2.0)-Bureau Of Labor Statistics, August 2020 Unemployment Report in October 2020.

11Retrieved from: Number Of Substance Abuse Counselors Per 100K People (factor weight: 2.0) -Bureau Of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment And Wages Report, Published May 2019 in September 2020.

12Retrieved from: Number Of Opioid Prescriptions Per 100 People (factor weight: 2.0)-CDC, 2018 State Level Data in September 2020.

13Retrieved from: Job Quotient/Competition For Substance Abuse Counseling Jobs (factor weight: 2.0)-Bureau Of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment And Wages Report, Published May 2019 in September 2020.

14Retrieved from: Combined Number Of Local Alcoholics Anonymous And Narcotics Anonymous Meetings Per 100K People (factor weight: 2.0)-Manually Compiled Using The Official Alcoholics Anonymous And Narcotics Anonymous Websites, Count Performed in September 2020.

15Retrieved from: Number Of Substance Abuse Treatment Facilities Per 100K People (factor weight: 2.0)-Substance Abuse And Mental Health Services Administration, 2019 National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services in September 2020.

16Retrieved from: Number Of Drug Labs And Dumpsites Per 100K People (factor weight: 2.0)-DEA.gov in September 2020.

17Retrieved from: The Number Of Drug Arrests Per 100K People (factor weight: 2.0)-FBI’s Crime Data Explorer in October 2020.

18Retrieved from: Percent Of Population In Need Of Unreceived Substance Abuse Treatment (factor weight: 2.0)-Substance Abuse And Mental Health Services Administration, 2017-2018 National Survey On Drug Use And Health in September 2020.

19Retrieved from: Overdose Deaths Per 100K People (factor weight: 2.0)-CDC in September 2020.

 

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University.

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