Overdose deaths decline in the Two Virginias

CDC data showed a steep increase during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
CDC data showed a steep increase during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.(WVVA)
Published: Sep. 22, 2022 at 7:33 PM EDT
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BLUEFIELD, W.Va. (WVVA) - According to a report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), overdose deaths in the Two Virginias have been on the decline.

As a whole, the U.S. is expected to see a rise in overdose deaths of nearly 7% from April 2021 through April 2022, according to the CDC. The Two Virginias seem to have bucked that trend however, with a predicted 10%-plus decrease in overdose deaths expected in the Mountain State, and a 20%-plus decrease in the Commonwealth.

On-the-ground advocates said local coordination has played a big role in mitigation efforts.

“Law enforcement, EMS, they’re the first responders for our area,” said Dr. Jamie Styons, Director of Community and Justice Programs with Community Connections. “So they’re going to see everything first. Having them link with the treatment providers and prevention folks, what that does, it has that cohort that’s community driven so people are seeing every aspect of the process.”

West Virginia’s Attorney General Patrick Morissey has signaled he plans to continue pursuing lawsuits against drug companies the state believes to have played a role in the opioid epidemic.