Data Suggests Fatal Drug Overdoses May be Leveling Off

Sep 5, 2019

New West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources data suggests fatal drug overdose deaths might be leveling off or even decreasing slightly.

The preliminary data from 2018 suggests a 6 percent decline in overdose deaths from 2017, according to a press release.

Opioids are still the most common type of drugs seen in overdose deaths, with the most deaths coming from Fentanyl and heroin. 

Those numbers are decreasing, though. 

In 2017, 86 percent of overdose deaths were from opioids, while in 2018 the number dropped to 82 percent. And in general, the report found, fewer people are dying with prescription drugs in their system, suggesting that efforts to curb over prescribing may be having an impact.

While the data suggests an overall decrease in overdose deaths, the report found an increase in overdose deaths involving methamphetamine. 

In 2018, more than a third of overdose deaths involved meth, compared to 3 percent in 2014.


Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, with support from Marshall Health and Charleston Area Medical Center.