Why the Northeast US Has Been Hit Hardest by the Opioid Epidemic
A new federal report has revealed that more people die from opioid related drug overdoses in the Northeast US than anywhere else in the country. Research is now being undertaken to help people understand why this is occurring.
The report comes from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). The areas under scrutiny were those east from Minnesota, Iowa and Missouri, and north from West Virginia. In these areas, the rates of death from overdoses involving opioids (mainly prescription painkillers, heroin and fentanyl) were between 12.4 and 22.5 deaths per 100,000. The rate of death for fentanyl for the rest of the United States averages out at just 1.5 deaths per 100,000.
People Are Trying to Work Out Why Death Rates Are So High in the Northeast
“We tend to think all the US is the same, and clearly it is not,” said Dr. Holly Hedegaard, an NCHS epidemiologist and lead researcher. “There are differences across the country in terms of the drugs that are contributing to overdose deaths.”
Opioids such as oxycodone, fentanyl and heroin are the number one cause of drug related deaths in Northeast US, whereas in the West that unwanted number one spot is taken by methamphetamines.
States in New England recorded the highest rates of fentanyl overdose deaths, at 22.5 per 100,000 people. Mid-Atlantic states (West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware and DC) fared the next worst with 17.5 deaths per 100,000.
The Increasing Use of Fentanyl is Becoming the Number One Factor in the Opioid Epidemic
Pat Aussem, a director at the Center on Addiction in New York City said, “This report highlights the inroads fentanyl has made, particularly east of the Mississippi, contributing to overdose deaths as people using substances either seek or unwittingly consume it in heroin, counterfeit pills or cocaine.”
Southern states are fast catching up with Northeast states In terms of fatal fentanyl overdoses. The death rate in these areas has now risen to 9.1 per 100,000. The lowest ranked state in the US is Nebraska, at 3.1 per 100,000.
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