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Opioid Overdose Deaths Paint a Horrific Picture in U.S.
The opioid epidemic has resulted in staggering numbers across the United States. The number of deaths due to opioid overdoses has increased steadily from 2002 (about 12,000 deaths) to 2015 (more than 33,000). Governments across the country are taking legal action against opioid manufacturers to hold them accountable for the role they have allegedly played in this national tragedy.
Opioid Deaths – States
The five states that had the highest death rates due to opioid overdoses in 2015 were as follows:
- West Virginia (41.5 deaths per 100,000 population)
- New Hampshire (34.3)
- Kentucky (29.9)
- Ohio (29.9)
- Rhode Island (28.2)
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, there were substantial increases in opioid death rates in the Northeast and South from 2014-2015. Connecticut, Florida, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New York and Tennessee were just a few of the states that saw statistically significant increases.
Opioid Deaths – Counties
According to an organization known as Efficient Gov, these are the counties with the highest opioid death rates in the U.S.
- McDowell County (WV) – 57 deaths in 2016 (93 per 100,000 residents)
- Rio Arriba County (NM) – 98 deaths in 2016 (82 per 100,000 residents)
- Bell County (KY) – 60 deaths in 2016 (72 per 100,000 residents)
- Hardin County (TN) – 41 deaths in 2016 (53 per 100,000 residents)
- Carbon County (UT) – 33 deaths in 2016 (53 per 100,000 residents)
Opioid Deaths – Cities
There is no comprehensive list of the cities in the U.S. that have the most opioid overdose deaths, but the Castlight health organization compiled a list of the cities where the highest occurrences of opioid abuse takes place.
According to Castlight, a staggering 12 percent of residents of Wilmington, NC who receive opioid prescriptions eventually abuse the drug. Castlight also reports that Anniston, AL has the second-highest rate of prescription drug abuse in the U.S., with 11.6 percent of prescriptions ultimately resulting in misuse. Rounding out the list are Panama City, FL (11.5 percent), Enid, OK (10 percent) and Hickory, NC (9.9 percent).