Who Overdoses and Why?

Jan 26, 2018

A new study explores who overdoses, and suggests ways we can intervene and save lives

Most people who overdose on opioids have seen a health care provider in the last year, and many had recently been released from jail, according to a new study from West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources.

This suggests that overdoses can be prevented with the right intervention.

Here are some of the findings, according to the Charleston Gazette-Mail:

  • Eighty-one percent of people who died of overdose interacted with at least one type of health care provider in the 12 months prior to their death.
  • Ninety-one percent of all those who died had a documented history within the West Virginia Board of Pharmacy’s Controlled Substances Monitoring Program. In the 30 days prior to death, nearly half (49 percent) of females who died filled a controlled-substance prescription in the 30 days prior to death, as compared to 36 percent of males.
  • Those who died of overdose were three times more likely to have three or more prescribers, compared to the overall CSMP population. Those who died were more than 70 times likely to have prescriptions at four or more pharmacies, compared to the overall CSMP population.
  • Seventy-one of those who died of overdose used emergency medical services within the 12 months prior to their death. Only 31 percent of those who died had naloxone administration documented in their EMS record.
  • More than half (56 percent) of all those who died of overdose had been incarcerated. They were at an increased risk of death in the 30 days after their date of release, especially in those with only some high school education.
  • Males working in blue-collar industries with a higher risk of injury might be at an increased risk for overdose death.

On this week's Front Porch podcast, we discuss how we can intervene to prevent overdoses.

In addition, we talk about a proposal to log in W.Va. State Parks, and another to eliminate multi-member Delegate districts in West Virginia.