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PA Drug Deaths Outpace All Other States, CDC Report Finds

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released data this week revealing that Pennsylvania has outpaced every state in drug overdose deaths. The provisional study (which means that some information may not be complete and may change) included overdose deaths across the US for 12-months ending in July 2017. PA had 5,443 drug overdose deaths in that period, and 3,797 in the previous 12-month period, an increase of 43.4%. To put that in a national perspective, the US overall saw a 14.4% increase.

While the District of Columbia actually outpaced PA, with a 45.7% increase, the numbers where much smaller with 319 overdose deaths.

There were 14 states that saw decreases (with Wyoming and Utah seeing the biggest declines), however, 10 states had increases in overdose deaths of 20% or more.

All States rate of change (highest to lowest):


Overdose Deaths by County

Though county data was not available in this most recent study, an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) show that in the 2016 calendar year, there were only three PA counties that did not see any deaths:

  • Cameron County
  • Forest County
  • Warren County

The worst hit was Beaver County (a change from the past in which Philadelphia had the most PA overdose deaths).

Men OD rate Double that of Women

The CDC findings also showed that the fatal overdose rate for men is nearly double that for women and that the highest rate of overdose deaths occurred in individuals in the 25-54 age group.

Statewide Disaster Declared

On January 10, 2018, PA Governor Tom Wolf declared the Pennsylvania drug epidemic a statewide disaster, with a coordinated effort to turn the tide with 13 key initiatives that include:

  • Allowing first responders and EMS to leave behind Naloxone with those they care for
  • Increased access for pharmacies to Naloxone
  • Waiving birth certificate fee to help those who are homeless obtain certification in order to access treatment and coverage for care.
  • Allowing for expansion of the advanced body scanner pilot program (in place in Wernersville)
  • Waiving in-person doctor requirements for Narcotic Treatment Program (NTP)
  • Expanding medication-assisted treatment (MAT)
  • Waiving licensing for hospitals and ERs to administer MAT
  • Waiving annual licensing for addiction treatment centers that perform well or have good outcomes.

If you are a loved is at risk of a drug overdose, there is help available. Call Futures of Palm Beach today.


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