A new study has been released by the Commonwealth Fund to reveal the rates of deaths and suicides from drugs and alcohol have reached an all-time high in the United States. What is particularly revealing about this extensive report are the marked regional differences in fatality rates. This investigation examined all external factors and health outcomes from state-to-state and found the rate of growth in drug overdose deaths in specific regions to reach crisis levels.
West Virginia leads a number of mid-Atlantic states as the highest rates of drug overdose deaths in the nation, and this catastrophe shows no signs of slowing down soon. The exorbitant amount of fatalities in these states are over double the national average. Shockingly, these rates increased by 450% in just 12 years. The culprits responsible for this national emergency include prescription painkillers, heroin, fentanyl, and synthetic opioids. Tragically, what distinguishes the lowest ranked states as such is the lack of access to healthcare coverage.
A study conducted in West Virginia by John Hopkins University found positive results proving the expansion of Medicaid access and its positive impact on drug and alcohol fatality rates. It was proven that treatment rates for opioid abuse increased for those who became eligible for Medicaid. Rising costs of healthcare cannot be ignored in analyzing the sharp rise in suicide and death rates. The states producing the highest number of fatalities are the same states which require extremely expensive health insurance contributions, denoting this public emergency.
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