When will it end? That’s a great question, no good answer yet.

West Virginia once again—and still—leads the country in drug overdose deaths.

That’s according to the new federal numbers just released by the National Center for Health Statistics.

The report updates drug overdose death statistics for the country since 1999, as well as key findings for 2016.

And the news is not good nationally either: In 2016, there were more than 63,600 drug overdose deaths in the United States.

Nationally the age-adjusted rate for drug overdose deaths was 19.8 per 100,000 people in 2016.

That’s more than three times the 1991 rate of 6.1 per 100,000 people.

West Virginia is significantly higher than the national rate, and continued to lead the country with 52.0 per 100,000 people in 2016.

The previous rate 34 per 100,000 people from 2011-13 was more than twice the national average. It was previously 22 deaths per 100,000 in 2007-09.



Following West Virginia are:

  • Ohio (39.1)
  • New Hampshire (39.0)
  • District of Columbia (38.8),
  • Pennsylvania (37.9)

Heroin continues to be an ever growing threat. Overdose deaths from that drug more than tripled from 8 percent in 2010 to 25 percent in 2015, the report concludes.

The latest data also examines who is most likely to die of an overdose, and what specific drugs are increasingly responsible for the deaths.

Drug use patterns, however, are changing. Not surprisingly synthetic opioids, including fentanyl and tramadol are now a big part of the deadly picture.

That percentage was 8 percent in 2011 but jumped to 18 percent in 2015.

Overall the age-adjusted rate of drug overdose deaths involving these types of drugs doubled between 2015 and 2016, from 3.1 to 6.2 per 100,000 people.

Gender also makes a difference and the number of deaths–rates were significantly higher for males than females.

For males, the rate increased from 8.2 in 1999 to 26.2 in 2016. Females increased from 3.9 in 1999 to 13.4 in 2016.

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