Almost every day on the news there is a new story about drug busts, drug trafficking, drug overdoses, or the opioid epidemic.
While these new stories certainly are not going to disappear anytime soon, there is hope. The Pennsylvania opioid epidemic has been a growing concern for state officials, but there has been some improvement. Data from 2018 show that the number of people who died of a drug overdose has declined from 5,377 in 2017 to 4,413 in 2018.1
Drug Overdose Deaths in PA Declined For The First Time in Years
These results show improvement in the number of drug overdose deaths in PA for the first time in 5 years. Although Pennsylvania is showing improvement, that state still has a long way to go. While the number of Pennsylvania drug overdose deaths thankfully declined last year, the number of drug overdose deaths per 100,000 people in Pennsylvania has been consistently higher than the national average since before 2000. In particular, the largest discrepancy between the two was in 2017 with Pennsylvania at an alarming rate of 44.3 overdose deaths per 100,000 persons and the national average only at 21.7.2 Fentanyl and heroin have consistently been some of the biggest offenders in the last 3 years, making opioids a major concern.3 If you struggle with either of these drugs, fentanyl or heroin addiction treatment could save your life.
With such high numbers compared to the country as a whole, state and local officials have been trying to come up with solutions, and it appears that the most recent efforts could be starting to pay off. With a push on awareness and education of opioid abuse, in particular, people are looking to promote prevention as well as get more people into opioid addiction treatment in Pennsylvania who need it. Campaigns like informative billboards, prescription drug monitoring programs, standing order prescriptions for naloxone, and the battle for safe injection sites have taken place across the state. As these programs continue, the hope is that the number of drug overdose deaths in Pennsylvania will continue to drop drastically.
2019 Pennsylvania Drug Overdose Deaths
With 2019 coming to a close, numbers for this year are still being gathered and will not be officially released until 2020. Data will either show that the Keystone State is still making improvements with numbers decreasing even further or that 2018 was just a fluke. Unless there is some drastic decline, Pennsylvania still has a long way to go in the fight against opioids and other drugs.
If you or someone you love struggles with opioids, alcohol, or other drugs, do not wait to get help. Our Luzerne County addiction treatment center has programs and therapies to assist patients in overcoming their substance abuse problems long-term. Find out how we may be able to help you today at Clearbrook Treatment Centers by calling 570-536-9621.
- opendata PA – Pennsylvania Quick Stats
- NIH – Pennsylvania Opioid Summary
- OverdoseFree PA – Death Data Overview