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Drug Abuse and Overdose Statistics in Pennsylvania

A report titled “Prescription Drug Abuse: Strategies to Stop the Epidemic” reveals that Pennsylvania has the 14th-highest mortality rate for drug overdoses in the country, at a rate of 15.3 per 100,000 people.

The total number of deaths from drug overdoses in the state, most of which result from use of prescription drugs, increased by a staggering 89 percent since 1999, when the rate was just 8.1 per 100,000. Rates across the country have at least doubled in 29 states since 1999, and of those 29, rates tripled in 10 and quadrupled in four.

Pennsylvania also ranked poorly in terms of indicators of strategies in place to help curb the abuse of prescription drugs. The state only received a rating of four out of 10. Nationally, 27 other states and Washington, D.C. all scored six or less. New Mexico and Vermont were the only states with a score of 10, and South Dakota ranked the lowest at two out of 10.

Addiction has become a major issue

Although this report came out in 2013, it continues to have a major impact on the state’s drug abuse enforcement. Prescription drug abuse has become a much greater focus in Pennsylvania and the country as a whole within the last few years. Deaths from prescription drug overdoses now outnumber the combined deaths from cocaine and heroine overdoses, and there are even more prescription-drug related deaths than motor vehicle deaths in 29 states and Washington, D.C.

Meanwhile, only one in 10 Americans who have a substance abuse disorder actually receive treatment, which means there is not nearly enough being done to prevent addictions. When the report came out, recommendations included better public education about the risks of prescription drug use, such as improving the understanding of safe storage and responsible prescribing practices.

If you have been charged with a drug crime in Pennsylvania, contact Reading criminal defense attorney David R. Eshelman right away.

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