In recent years, the use of opioids has been on the rise in the United States, causing an epidemic. Opioids are a class of drug that not only include the illegal drug heroin, but also legal drugs prescribed by doctors for pain. These drugs can help relieve severe pain but unfortunately are highly addictive, while withdrawals from not having the drug are painful. People that no longer have access to the legal drugs they are prescribed may purchase opioids illegally. Not only does this affect a person’s personal life and increase the chances for criminal charges, but abuse of opioids can lead to overdose … and even death.
The National Institution on Drug Abuse has released data for the opioid prescription rates and opioid overdose death rates from 2017. Based on this information, the state of Tennessee had the highest opioid prescription rate of 94.4 for every 100 persons. Oklahoma’s prescription rate was the second-highest in the nation at 88.1 per every 100 persons. Kentucky also had a high prescription rate at 86.8.
When it comes to overdoses caused by opioids, the highest rates of death were in West Virginia, where 49.6 out of every 100,000 persons died from an opioid-involved overdose death. Coming in second was Ohio with an opioid overdose rate of 39.2. The third highest rates of death occurred in Washington, D.C., where the rate was 34.7.