West Virginia Planning Response to Fight Statewide Opioid Epidemic

As West Virginia sees report numbers of drug overdose deaths, state officers say they’ll submit plans for responding additional to the opioid epidemic to Gov. Jim Justice by mid-January.

“There is a critical need to identify a concise set of recommendations to stem the tide of overdose deaths,” mentioned Department of Health and Human Resources Secretary Bill Crouch.

The suggestions will contain public engagement and a partnership with regional and nationwide specialists, in accordance to the division.

West Virginia reported a report 884 overdose deaths final yr, with 756 involving at the very least one opioid. That’s up from 735 drug overdose fatalities in 2015, when the federal Centers for Disease Control reported that West Virginia’s demise price led all states at 41.5 per 100,000 folks. The price amongst its comparatively small inhabitants of lower than 1.eight million elevated final yr to about 49 deaths per 100,000 folks.

According to well being officers, preliminary evaluation exhibits that seven out of 10 individuals who died had a painkiller prescription stuffed inside a yr of their demise, and 4 in 10 had one stuffed inside 30 days earlier than.

This yr the state established a brand new Office of Drug Control Policy within the division underneath a brand new regulation.

The workplace plans to coordinate with public well being specialists from West Virginia University, Marshall University and Johns Hopkins University.

“We are at a precipice and need to act with a sense of urgency,” mentioned Dr. Rahul Gupta, commissioner of the Bureau of Public Health. “These statistics are alarming and every day we wait to take action is another day we are losing people to addiction and overdose.”

Overdose deaths usually contain a number of varieties of medicine, the DHHR mentioned.

State knowledge via mid-October present 558 drug fatalities thus far, indicating the speed has begun dropping. Health officers this yr have distributed 1000’s of kits with an antidote – Naloxone – utilized by emergency personnel that may get folks respiratory once more if administered in time after an opioid overdose.

Copyright 2017 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This materials will not be revealed, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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