How West Virginia Can Redeem Itself from its Drug Woes

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In 2014, West Virginia posted the highest mortality rate associated with drug overdose in the United States at 35.5 per 100,000 population.

Although the number of deaths only number 627, the mortality rate was already adjusted to take account for susceptible age as well as the current population of the state at the time. This was up from 2013’s 32.2 drug overdose deaths per 100,000. The data are very distressing and has led a great number of drug treatment executives to question whether these figures reflect the true state of things in West Virginia.

West Virginia’s addiction treatment admissions offer not much hope as well. Only 0.22 percent of West Virginians ever sought treatment for substance addiction which already includes alcohol addiction. Only 3 out of 10 treatment admissions were addicted to illicit drugs as well as controlled substances. Of the 30 percent who sought drug abuse treatments, more than 30 percent were due to marijuana with heroin and cocaine coming in a close second and third, respectively. Closing the gap with 12 percent were prescription opioid analgesics like Vicodin, Percocet, and methadone, among others.

West Virginia has the most depressing drug data in all of the United States. Its drug woes are bleak compared to the rest of the country. In fact, the authorities have labeled West Virginia as having a very serious drug problem. How the state plans to reverse its fortune remains a puzzle to everyone in West Virginia. It is also very interesting to note that only 30 percent of all addiction treatment admissions are for the use of illicit drugs. Many optimists on West Virginia’s addiction landscape are quite thankful that the greater majority of treatment admissions involved alcohol addiction. It would seem that West Virginia’s main problem is alcohol and not drugs. However, experts do agree that these numbers are only for those who sought admission for their addiction problems. One way to look at the figures is that there are more chronic alcoholics who recognize the need to address and treat their alcohol addictions. Likewise and in the same manner, fewer drug dependents realize the need for drug addiction treatment and rehabilitation. This seems to support the data on a significant disparity between alcohol and drug admissions.

Nonetheless, West Virginia’s drug rehabilitation facilities are collaborating more closely with communities and groups to help spread the information about the availability of treatments and rehabilitation services for individuals who would like to turn their lives around for the better. It is deemed that a single addiction center can help improve the drug overdose mortality and morbidity indicators in the state if only they are given the chance to provide invaluable treatment to vulnerable populations.

West Virginia drug rehab centers need to make sure that everyone in the state has access to prompt drug overdose treatment to pave the way for a more meaningful rehabilitation effort. The problem is that individuals will often seek medical attention when the drug’s effects have already severely undermined the structure and function of the brain, making resuscitation especially difficult. In most cases, while resuscitation efforts succeed, the individual may still succumb to coma.

West Virginia may have nation’s most troubling figures in terms of the drug scourge. But it is anticipated that its drug treatment programs can be further harnessed to really serve the people who needs it most.

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