West Virginia Has Highest Drug-related Death Rate in the U.S.

West Virginia has the highest drug-related death rate in the country

In the next 24 hours, nearly one hundred Americans will die from a drug overdose. In fact, In 2015, more people died from drug-related causes than from vehicular crashes and gun homicides combined.

Today, West Virginia has the highest drug-related death rate in the country. Between 2007 and 2012, drug wholesalers shipped enough hydrocodone and oxycodone for every resident in West Virginia to receive 433 pills, according to The Hill.

To make treatment even more difficult, the injection of synthetic opioids like fentanyl and heroin has led to skyrocketing rates of hepatitis infection, since sharing syringes is one of the most efficient routes for transmitting blood-borne diseases. And West Virginia has the second highest annual incidence of Hepatitis C in the country.

Overall, nearly one-quarter of Americans receiving medication-assisted treatment for drug addiction are on Medicaid. In some of the hardest-hit states this number is considerably higher. In West Virginia, 45 percent of treatment is paid for by Medicaid. For many states, Medicaid is the most powerful tool at their disposal to fight the opioid epidemic.

West Virginia has filed a lawsuit in federal court against opioid distributors that is worth tens of millions of dollars. And states like Ohio, Mississippi, Illinois, New York and California are pursuing similar charges.

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Read the full story at TheHill.com.

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