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Researcher calls West Virginia's drug overdose death rate increase ‘totally unacceptable’

Dr. Robin Pollini

Dr. Robin Pollini

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A West Virginia University researcher is calling for expanded treatment and a sustainable statewide naloxone distribution program after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report today (Dec. 21), which highlights the mounting public health crisis surrounding drug overdose deaths. The Mountain State continues to have the highest drug overdose death rate in the nation. 

Data collected from the National Vital Statistics System found that there were more than 63,000 drug overdose deaths in the United States in 2016. The national overdose death rate was 19.8 per 100,000 people. West Virginia’s overdose death rate in 2016 was 52.0 per 100,000 people, up from 41.5 in 2015. This is a substantial increase in overdose deaths in a single year.

Dr. Robin Pollini
Associate Professor
WVU Injury Control Research Center

“This is a 25 percent increase in the overdose death rate in West Virginia in just one year. That is totally unacceptable. We need a sustainable statewide naloxone distribution program, and we need to expand treatment capacity so that people who want to stop using drugs can get the treatment they need. ” 


Dr. Pollini joined West Virginia University’s Injury Control Research Center earlier this year, and has been conducting research on drug overdose since 2003.

The WVU ICRC is one of 11 ICRC's across the United States funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. The mission of the WVU ICRC is to advance the science and practice of injury prevention and control through research, education, outreach and service. The WVU ICRC has industry-leading experts in the fields of substance abuse, suicide, and childhood violence. 

West Virginia University experts can provide commentary, insights and opinions on various news topics. Search for an expert by name, title, area of expertise, or college/school/department in the Experts Database at WVU Today.




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