Tackling the U.S. opioid crisis
According to estimates from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 180 Americans died from drug overdoses every day in 2018 and nearly 130 of these deaths were due to opioids.1 West Virginia has the highest overdose death rate in the U.S., with opioids responsible for the majority of overdose deaths in the state.2 West Virginia also has high rates of viral hepatitis, which has been linked nationally to the growing opioid epidemic and may also lead to a rise in the number of people contracting HIV.3
Developing a comprehensive response to the opioid epidemic in West Virginia
To help address the opioid crisis in West Virginia, the Merck Foundation is supporting Marshall Health through a $2 million grant over four years (2018–2021) to establish a comprehensive system for addiction care. This integrated program is tackling the opioid crisis in the Great Rivers Region (Cabell, Jackson, Kanawha, and Putnam counties) of southwest West Virginia by providing individuals who have substance use disorders with the care they need to stay in treatment and reduce their risk of overdose.
1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Drug Overdose Deaths.” https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/data/statedeaths.html.
2 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Drug Overdose Mortality by State.” https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/pressroom/sosmap/drug_poisoning_mortality/drug_poisoning.htm
3 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Addressing the Infectious Disease Consequences of the U.S. Opioid Crisis.” https://www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/budget/infographics/opioids.html