WV has highest drug overdose rate in the nation, new study says

[image] "West Virginia has the highest drug overdose rate in the country," said United States Attorney Booth Goodwin.

"West Virginia has the highest drug overdose rate in the country," said United States Attorney Booth Goodwin.  It's a sad statistic.  One that, according to a new study released Monday, is affecting numerous families in the mountain state.  The report found that there were about 30 overdose deaths per 100,000 people in 2010 in West Virginia, the majority of those involving prescription drugs. 

Experts say the prescription pill epidemic got out of hand because the drugs are so readily available.  Now, because of prices, people are heading towards the cheaper alternative, heroin.   "That's an unfortunate effect, because the drug overdose rates can rise substantially as a result," Goodwin said.  

In an effort to curb drug use in our region, a short film has been created as the result of a partnership between the U.S. Attorney's Office and the Huntington Police Department.  The film is called, "E.O.D.: Equal Opportunity Destroyer", and was produced by Trifecta Productions, based in Huntington.

Goodwin said there is a clear purpose for the video.  He said, "I think it'll give anyone a real opportunity to sit down and have a very frank discussion with your kids or really anyone who you think may be combating this terrible issue."  

A terrible issue that Goodwin said, can be curtailed with some education and open communication with upcoming generations.  Trust for America's Health said West Virginia is making significant strides to tackle the issue, noting the Mountain State is using eight of 10 promising strategies to curb prescription drug abuse.

The trust says some strategies to curb the problem appear to be working, including public awareness, more treatment options, and Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs that provide real-time interstate information that can help identify so-called problem prescribers and so-called "doctor shoppers," people who visit multiple doctors to get more prescriptions for the same drug.


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