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Where in the USA is suffering most with the opioid crisis?

by Busines Newswire
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The opioid crisis has been crippling the USA for some time now. Over the past two decades over 600,000 people have died as a result of overdosing, and the number of people that are is accelerating in more recent times.

The World Health Organisation released stats that between 2013 and 2019 alone, death rates due to opioids increased by 1,040%. Today, over 1,500 people are dying per day in the country.

While the government and local authorities are trying to stem that crisis, with education, safe administration centres and access to private drug treatment, it only seems to be getting worse.

Some areas of the USA are suffering more than others. But where across the country is it especially damaging?

Appalachia: A Struggle in the Mountains

Spaning parts of West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee and Ohio, Appalachia has long been one of the epicentres of the opioid crisis. Despite its picturesque location, the mountains have become a real struggle for people. Factors such as economic hardship, limited access to healthcare, and a history of coal industry decline have led people to turn to substances such as fentanyl as a way to cope.

Efforts are in place to try and combat this, with treatment programmes in place and harm reduction initiatives, but it’s still a real hotspot for the struggles much of the country is facing.

New England: Battling the Tide of Opioids

In the New England region, and in particular states like Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island, there has been a huge surge in fatalities and addiction rates as a result of opioids.

The northeast of the country has seen a huge amount of deaths, with one rather damning statement saying there’s been ‘more funerals than weddings’. Almost 81,000 people died in 2021 as a result of the crisis, and that number is continuing to rise year-on-year.

Midwest: The Heartland Struggle

States like Indiana and Michigan are also facing huge problems, with the epidemic’s impact extending way beyond the cities and into the more rural regions and communities, where healthcare is more limited and the impacts of addiction can be even more challenging.

Since the turn of the millennium, hospitaliasation rates have risen by over 250%, with the state’s universities doing what they can via research initiatives to try and stem the trauma it’s causing across the state.

West Coast: A Complex Landscape

In California it’s a rather complex situation which local governments are struggling to contend with. In 2022, there were almost 7,000 deaths as a result of opioids, with prescription drugs being the largest driver of that.

It’s affecting the Latino community significantly in the state and across the West Coast, with 40% of overdose deaths within the community coming from fentanyl, and a further 31% from heroin.

Southern States: A Silent Struggle

Finally, in the Southern states such as Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana, there’s a quieter but just as pervasive crisis trying to be tackled with opioids. Stigma and a lack of access to treatment is significantly contributing to underreporting of opioid-related issues in this region. However, many charities and healthcare providers are trying to raise awareness and give the help people need, but it’s a long way from being crisis averted, just as is the case right across the USA.