June 25, 2019
The death rates from drug overdoses, alcohol, and suicides have reached an all-time high in the U.S., with some states bearing the brunt of it more than the others, stated a recent report by the Commonwealth Fund.
The report surveyed data from 2017 in all the 50 states of the country and the District of Columbia (Washington D.C.). The report included 47 factors which are known to have a direct impact on health consequences which included access to doctors, obesity, smoking, insurance coverage, and even tooth loss, and each state was then assigned a score.
West Virginia has highest overdose death rates
The study observed that West Virginia had been hit the hardest with the highest number of drug-related overdose deaths. Shockingly, the death rates had increased by a massive 450 percent from 2005 to 2017.
David Radley, a senior scientist for the Commonwealth Fund, said that the states from the mid-Atlantic namely West Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania had recorded the highest number of deaths due to drug overdoses in the country. These states recorded double the national average of drug-related overdose deaths. He went on to add that the death rates due to overdose in West Virginia were scary and a matter of grave concern.
The report observed that the deaths due to drug overdose, alcohol use, and co-occurring mental illnesses had also risen across the country. However, these were not divided equally. Deaths due to suicide or alcohol were higher in Nebraska, Oregon, Montana, and Wyoming compared to the rest of the country.
Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, which is nearly 50-100 times more potent than morphine, led the list of the most dangerous drugs followed by heroin and other painkillers. Fentanyl has been identified as the number one killer drug in the country.
Besides the death rates, the report also observed about 44 other factors that effected the health of the population in certain regions. The states were ranked on the basis of these factors, however the main factor that influenced the rankings was health care coverage.
After analyzing all the mentioned factors, the states that received the highest score in health rankings were Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Washington, with Connecticut and Vermont tying up at the fifth position. On the other hand, the states at the bottom of the table were Arkansas, Nevada, Texas, Oklahoma, and Mississippi. These states were ranked on measures like access to health care, use of services, cost of care, quality of care, income-based health care disparities, and health outcomes.
Speaking on the rankings, Radley said that access to health care was the main foundation of a high performing health care system. He further added that having no option to access a doctor in times of need was the same as getting admitted to a hospital for heart surgery when one had a broken leg.
Medicaid assistance affected rates of insured people
The report also observed that the highest rates of uninsured adults were found in 5 states. These states had not extended access to Medicaid via the Affordable Care Act (ACA). For example, the lowest rate of uninsured adults was 4 percent in Massachusetts which extended Medicaid access, whereas Texas, which had the highest rate of uninsured citizens at 24 percent, had declined Medicaid.
24 percent Texans did not have health insurance in 2017, the highest rate of uninsured people in a state. Conversely, the state with the lowest number of insured citizens was Massachusetts at 4 percent.
Factors affecting health care coverage
One of the major factors affecting health care coverage was the rising costs. According to Radley, as the costs of health care went up, so did the insurance premiums, which were in turn, passed on to the employees. For example, in states like Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Arizona, Mississippi, and Texas, the average out of pocket health insurance expenditure of an employee was 8 to 10 percent of their income.
However, there were some positives. West Virginia, which had the highest number of drug-related overdose deaths, extended Medicaid access in 2016. This led to a rise in the treatment rates for opioid abuse because the residents of the state qualified for Medicaid under ACA. In fact, after its implementation, nearly 75 percent of patients suffering from opioid addiction were provided treatment.
Seeking treatment for drug abuse
Drug addiction is a menace that affects not only the abuser but also their friends and family. Seeking professional help from a certified drug treatment center may be the only way to overcome addiction and lead a sober life. A comprehensive addiction treatment program involves a combination of detoxification process along with medications, counselling, and therapy sessions. While detox helps in flushing out the toxins from the body, therapy helps the patient learn various coping mechanisms to deal with daily life issues without being dependent on drugs.
Proper treatment for drug addiction is available at licensed drug rehabs across the country. If you or a loved one is battling a drug addiction and is looking for a licensed drug addiction treatment center, get in touch with the Invictus Health Group. For more information, call our 24/7 helpline 866-548-0190 and speak to a member of our admission’s team. You can also chat online with a representative for further assistance.