The US Opioid Epidemic
The opioid epidemic in the United States has reached unprecedented levels after it was declared a national emergency in 2017. It’s estimated that over 11.4 million people misused prescription drugs in 2017, and 130 people died from opioid misuse every day in that same year. The Laguna Treatment team is continuously striving to reduce the number of people who are addicted to opioids. One of the ways we do that is to stay informed on trends that can lead to the root cause of this unfortunate epidemic.
One of the major questions that we needed to answer was which areas from around the country prescribed the most opioids to patients. To find this out, we used data from the CDC on the Opioid Prescribing Rate per 100 in every U.S. county to determine the county that prescribes the most opioids in every state. We also used this data to find the top 100 prescribing counties overall, along with the percentage of the 100 that come from each state with counties represented.
Above is a graphic that shows the top county in each state that prescribes the most opioids to its residents. From this data, we can see that Norton City County, Virginia is the county that has the most opioids prescribed to its residents. It had a prescription rate of 396.1, which is over 150 more prescriptions than the county with the second-highest prescription rate, Owsley County, Kentucky.
The county with the lowest amount of prescribed opioid prescriptions is the District of Columbia with only 28.5 prescriptions per 100 people. Hawaii County, Hawaii came in a distant second with 58.4 prescriptions and Windham County, Connecticut was close behind it with 61 prescriptions.
Because we found the top opioid prescribing counties in each state, we also wanted to find the top counties that prescribed the most opioids in general. Using the same information as above, we found that the top 4 counties were all in Virginia. Norton City County, Galax City County, Martinsville City County, and Franklin City County produce 396.1, 345., 336.4, and 234.1 opioid prescriptions to their residents, respectively.
Lastly, we wanted to see which states house the counties that prescribe the most opioid prescriptions. 17 of the top 100 opioid prescribing counties in the U.S. are in VA, 15 are in TN, 14 in GA, and 13 in Kentucky. Interestingly, Louisiana, Michigan, North Carolina, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia all had only one county each represented on the top 100 prescribing counties.
But, even though these counties are providing people with dangerous opioids, that is just the tip of the iceberg. We’re in the midst of a public health crisis, and it’s important that we uncover the root causes of opioid addiction so we can help save lives. If you or someone you know is addicted or dependent on opioids, we can help. Please explore our site to learn more about our services.
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