A new study about prescription drug abuse in the U.S. has found that West Virginia has the highest rate of drug overdose fatalities.
The study, conducted by the Trust for America’s Health, also listed New Mexico, Kentucky, Nevada and Oklahoma in the top five in terms of drug overdose fatalities. The study found that the Dakotas have the lowest incidence of drug overdose fatalities.
According to the report, the number of drug overdose deaths has doubled in 29 states since 1999. The study also revealed that there are now more prescription drug-related deaths than deaths from heroin and cocaine combined.
Despite the rise in the number of deaths, the study found that the number of Americans abusing prescription drugs decreased from seven million in 2010 to 6.1 million in 2011. Still, the issue is quite serious.
“Drug overdose deaths exceed motor vehicle-related deaths in 29 states and Washington, D.C.,” the report states. “Misuse and abuse of prescription drugs costs the country an estimated $53.4 billion a year in lost productivity, medical costs and criminal justice costs, and currently only one in 10 Americans with a substance abuse disorder receives treatment.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that enough prescription painkillers were prescribed in 2010 to medicate every American adult continually for a month.