image description

Report: WV has highest overdose death rate in nation

June 17th, 2015 by WCBC Radio

West Virginia has the highest rate of overdose deaths in the U.S., according to a report released Wednesday, further spotlighting Appalachia’s festering drug abuse problem that is also fueling a rise in hepatitis C in one of the nation’s poorest regions. There were about 34 drug overdose deaths per 100,000 West Virginia residents from 2011-13, up dramatically from 22 deaths per 100,000 people in 2007-09, according to the report released Wednesday by the nonprofit groups Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. West Virginia’s drug overdose death rate was more than double the national average, the report says. Citing statistics from the CDC, it found that West Virginia’s rate far surpasses the second-highest state, New Mexico, which was at 28.2 deaths per 100,000. The national average was 13.4. “It’s more than disappointing. It’s devastating,” said U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin in Charleston. “Can I say that I’m shocked? I’m not, because I know the depth of this problem.” The reasons why vary, but they are intertwined, said Dr. Rahul Gupta, West Virginia’s state health officer. He cited the impoverished region’s history of poor education, along with the isolation of people and communities in its rugged mountainous terrain. There’s a limited offering of substance abuse programs, though it’s growing, but services may be far away and hard to reach. 

Leave a Reply

 



View Mobile Site