New federal data show the Ohio Valley again led the nation in rate of fatal drug overdoses last year. The data confirm what local officials have reported: synthetic opioids are fueling the increase.
West Virginia and Ohio had the nation’s highest rates of fatal drug overdoses in 2017 with 57.8 and 46.3 deaths per 100,000 people respectively.
Kentucky had the fifth-highest rate at 37.2 deaths per 100,000.
The new data from the Centers for Disease Control show the rates for these three states were above the national average
Synthetic opioids such as fentanyl appear to be fueling the continued increase.
The rate of drug overdose deaths involving these drugs increased by 45 percent from 2016 to 2017. While the rate of deaths involving prescription opioids and heroin remained the same.
Experts say the silver lining is that the projected rate of increase appears to be leveling off. But that, unfortunately, does not mean the number of lives lost will decrease, yet.