New Report: A Profile of Those Who Fatally Overdose in WV

Jan 23, 2018

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources released an analysis today of the factors that contribute to a person’s likelihood of fatally overdosing. 

The report presents a kind of “profile of an overdose victim in West Virginia.” Researchers found that men are twice as likely to die from a drug overdose as women. They also found that men working in blue collar industries that have a higher risk of injury may be at an increased risk for overdose death.

About 70 percent of those who fatally overdosed had Medicaid in the 12 months preceding their death.

Those who fatally overdosed were also three times more likely to have three or more prescribers compared to the others in the DHHR’s Pharmacy’s Controlled Substances Monitoring Program.

And more than half of those who fatally overdosed had been incarcerated. The risk of overdosing was higher during the 30 days following release from incarceration – particularly among people with incomplete high school education.

Officials say the report highlights opportunities for intervention in at risk people and that the data can be used to target specific segments of the population

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