There are few areas of the nation not affected by opioid addiction but when certain areas of the country are reporting the majority of drug overdose deaths, it gives cause to wonder why. Why are some states reporting higher numbers of drug related deaths? Could it be those are areas where drugs are either being illegally manufactured, or could it simply be something systemic in local communities such as high rates of poverty?
Currently there doesn’t seem to be a consensus, but what most authorities can agree on is that the number of opioid (fentanyl) overdose deaths are on the rise, more than 540% since 2015, as reported by the New York Times. Here is what we know to date.
All States Have Not Reported in for the Provisional Count
When delving into the numbers as released in the provisional reports from the CDC, it must be noted that not all states reported data to be listed in national vital statistics. However, there is enough evidence from what has been reported to know that opioid overdose deaths are significantly on the rise and it is a growing epidemic of major proportions.
Sadly, a great number of those deaths are not discovered for days, weeks or months afterward due to alienation from family and friends which is also part of this growing epidemic. The CDC is especially concerned with biohazards arising from unattended deaths and there is some fear that appropriate measures will not be taken to clean areas where unattended deaths occur.
Family members, friends and landlords should learn what to know about unattended death before trying to take matters into their own hands. Not only is this an emotionally charged time for loved ones to deal with, but it can be a biohazard for all involved. The CDC warns that improper clean-up of decomposing remains could result in other epidemics secondary to OD deaths due to bacteria and other contaminants.
States Hardest Hit by Opioid OD
Bearing in mind that these statistics are based on provisional counts released by the CDC, the states with the highest numbers of opioid related deaths are:
- Florida – 5,167 (Up 55% as of January 2017)
- Texas – 2,799 (Up 8% as of January 2017)
- Illinois – 2,518 (Up 33% as of January 2017)
- Maryland – 2,171 (Up 67% as of January 2017)
Note that those provisional statistics are 12 months old at this time, so one can only imagine what the latest from the CDC will be in the early months of 2018. While Texas appears to be second only to Florida, it is important to note that Texas is the second-most populous state behind California, while Florida is the fourth-most populous state. It is also interesting to note that Texas statistics year on year have only risen by 8 percent while Florida has risen a horrendous 55 percent.
Whether some states are doing more in terms of prevention or are simply better at policing neighborhoods known to be areas of high drug trafficking is unclear at this time. What is evident, however, is that opioid deaths are on the rise and it is a growing concern of epidemic proportions. Government and concerned citizens are awaiting the latest statistics from the CDC, but the fear is that the news will not be good.