Top 5 Cities With the Biggest Heroin Problems

The heroin epidemic rages on across the United States. The World Health Organization estimates between 3.8% and 4.2% of the entire population of North America uses opioids (and accounting for half of it is heroin), but some states and cities are hit harder than others. These are the five cities hit hardest in the U.S. by heroin abuse.

Louisville, Kentucky
In January, Louisville emergency responders responded to 695 overdose calls – an average of 22 per day. Responders are finding that some overdose patients need increasingly higher doses of naloxone, the antidote for opioid overdoses.

Baltimore, Maryland
Dubbed the “heroin capital” by the Drug Enforcement Agency, there are estimates that put the rate of drug addicts in the city as high as 1 in 10 residents. Baltimore is now designated a High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area by the federal government so that local police receive more funding to try to combat the issue.

Espanola, New Mexico
Heroin has been a problem in New Mexico since the 1970’s, but overdose deaths have skyrocketed in the last decade to put the state first in drug fatalities with 42.5 deaths 100,000 (the national average is 7.3). While Espanola is smaller than some of the other cities on this list, it is an epicenter of heroin use in New Mexico with an overdose rate three times higher than the rest of the state and five times higher than the national average.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia has become a hub for cheap, potent heroin from the Mexican Sinaloa cartel. The cheap prices have drawn heroin addicts from other states to the point that the per capita rate of overdose deaths (45 for every 100,000 people) is three times higher than Los Angeles or Chicago.

Huntington, West Virginia
In a mere four hours, Huntington, West Virginia suffered 27 heroin overdoses. However, the heroin problem is not confined to just one city. West Virginia suffers from some of the worst statistics in the country – West Virginians are the most likely to die an accidental death (with drug overdose being the most common form of accidental death in the state). The drug overdose deaths in West Virginia have begun to overwhelm a state-run burial assistance program that helps cover funeral expenses for families that otherwise could not afford them. The $2 million budget was nearly depleted four months before the end of the fiscal year.