In This State, a 'Mind-Boggling' Stat on Death Rates

WVa.'s drug OD rate has seen huge growth; US seeing record rates in 'deaths of despair' overall
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 12, 2019 8:20 AM CDT
'Deaths of Despair' Rates at All-Time High in US: Report
West Virginia's drug overdose problem is "mind-boggling."   (Getty Images/Darwin Brandis)

Mortality rates in the US from drug overdoses, alcohol, and suicides have reached an all-time high, per a new report, and one region of the country is especially hard-hit. NBC News cites the survey from the Commonwealth Fund health advocacy group that takes a close look at 2017 data from all 50 states and Washington, DC, examining nearly four dozen factors that affect residents' health—and the mentioned "deaths of despair" are showing troublesome numbers, particularly when it comes to drug ODs in certain states. For instance, "the rate of growth in drug overdose deaths in West Virginia is absolutely mind-boggling," lead author David Radley says, citing a 450% death rate increase there between 2005 and 2017.

Other states with worrisome stats when it comes to deadly drug overdoses include Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Delaware, and New Hampshire, as well as DC. Suicide rates, meanwhile, "rose more sharply between 2016 and 2017 than during any other one-year period in recent history," the report notes, per Arkansas Online. There may be a sliver of hope, however, at least on the drug overdose front. Per Time, new data out of the CDC notes that the rate for fatal drug overdoses in the US dropped just a bit from 2017 to 2018, breaking a nearly 20-year upward trend: In 2017, the age-adjusted death rate for drug overdoses was 21.7 deaths per every 100,000 people, while by the end of the first half of 2018, that number had fallen to 20.8. (More death rates stories.)

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