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PA Trends Paint a Grim Picture

If currents trends continue, Pennsylvania is facing a surge in death rates over the next decade.

According to a new report released by Well Being Trust, a national foundation that aims to improve mental health, the death rate in Pennsylvania from drugs, alcohol and suicide could increase an incredible 46 percent over the next decade.

“We’re turning to more lethal means to address our pain,” said Well Being Trust chief policy officer Benjamin Miller. He said Pennsylvania is actually below the national trend as nationwide deaths could jump by 60 percent over the next 10 years if current trends continue!

“As dire as these trends are, and as mind-blowing as they might be on paper, there are things that we can do about them,” Miller said.

Sadly, these projections might be conservative due to the rapid rise in heroin, fentanyl and carfentanil use.

“If you look at a lot of public policy that is currently focused on decreasing the amount of opioids that are prescribed, people are addicted to these medications, and they just can’t stop them, so they turn to more lethal medications, medications that have higher potency that lead to overdose and death,” Miller said.

To help reverse these trends a comprehensive approach is needed with three main components: early detection of substance use disorder and mental health issues, increased services and prevention.

“How do we invest in strategies that we know are going to prevent some of these issues from ultimately coming true?” Miller said. “We don’t spend a lot of money on prevention because it’s not as appealing or as glamorous as the latest, greatest intervention.”

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