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Does Virginia Have High Rates of Opioid-Related Overdose Deaths?

Created On Monday, 21, October 2019
Modified On Wednesday, 30, September 2020

In the state of Virginia in 2017, there was 1,241 drug overdose death involving opioids. Within the state, this is a rate of death of 14.8 deaths per 100,000 persons, which is only slightly higher than the national average during that year. The national average in 2017 was 14.6 deaths per 100,000 persons. The largest increase in opioid-related deaths involved synthetic opioids such as fentanyl. Between 2012 to 2017 there was a tenfold increase in synthetic opioid-related deaths. The opioid deaths involving heroin also increased during that time, and the deaths involving prescription opioids did not change. Opioid prescriptions in the state are also low, which has helped keep the rate of opioid addictions down.

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During 2017 Virginia providers wrote 52.9 opioid prescriptions for every 100 persons, which was lower than the national average. The national average in the nation during 2017 was 58.7 prescriptions per 100 persons. From 2012 in the state of Virginia this has been a 34% decrease in opioid prescriptions being provided. In 2018 in Virginia over 1400 people died of drug overdose compared to over 1500 residents in Virginia in 2017. In 2018 the number of opioid-related overdose deaths was 1,213, which was lower than in 2017. The slight decreases in drug overdose deaths can be credited to a comprehensive and regional approach, health professionals, law enforcement, and combating the opioid crisis.

The opioid overdoses are trending down in the state, but people are still struggling with drug and alcohol addiction. The state Medical Examiner's Office predicts that the opioid-related deaths will continue to fall. Drug overdoses, however, remain the leading cause of unnatural death in Virginia. If you are struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction, there are treatment resources in the state to help. This includes inpatient and outpatient drug rehab centers, and detox programs to help addicts struggling with any type of drug or alcohol addiction.


Nickolaus Hayes - Author

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