The Opioid Epidemic in West Virginia

The rate of overdose-related to the use of licit and illicit opioids has drastically increased over the last decade in the U.S. The epicenter being West Virginia the highest rates of overdoses accounting for 41.5 deaths for 100,000 people among the 33,091 deaths in 2015. The number of people injecting drugs has increased from 36% in 2005 to 54% in 2015. The total U.S cost of prescription opioid abuse in 2011 has been estimated at $25 billion, and criminal-justice-system costs to $5.1 billion. The reasons for this opioid epidemic incidence in WV have been a combination of sociocultural factors, a depressed economy, lack of education, and a high rate of prescribing and dispensing of prescription opioids. These strategies were evaluated through a systematic literature review and semi-structured interview that displayed a broad array of tactics used in West Virginia to keep up with the rate of related opioid overdoses.