West Virginia leads nation in overdose deaths
West Virginia has the highest rate of overdose deaths in the U.S., according to a report released last week, 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 34 drug-overdose deaths per 100,000 West Virginia residents from 2011 to 2013, up significantly from 22 deaths per 100,000 people from 20072009, according to the report released by the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
West Virginia’s drug-overdose death rate is more than double the national average, according to the report. It found that West Virginia’s rate far surpasses the second-highest state, New Mexico, which had 28.2 overdose deaths per 100,000 people. The national average is 13.4 overdose deaths.