DHHR: W.Va. overdose deaths ‘showing improvement’

CHARLESTON –The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Vital Statistics System has released a report showing West Virginia is one of six states with an improvement in decreasing the percentage of overdose deaths from March 2021 through March 2022. CDC reports that West Virginia is down 3.63% in overdose deaths during this period. The only other state showing a better improvement is Virginia at 6.69%.

“West Virginia is starting to plateau and likely seeing a slight downward trend,” said Dr. Matthew Christiansen, Director of the Office of Drug Control Policy (ODCP), West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR). “We are encouraged by CDC’s data and will continue our efforts to end West Virginia’s substance use epidemic.” 

On the below map, states shown in blue demonstrate improvement in overdose death reduction from March 2021 through March 2022.

“In 2021, a number of measures were implemented to address the overdose epidemic under the direction of Gov. Jim Justice,” added Dr. Christiansen.

With funding from DHHR’s Bureau for Behavioral Health, DHHR distributed naloxone to high risk individuals, continued the expansion of treatment and recovery services, built a network of ODCP Regional Coordinators in the hardest hit counties, launched new stigma campaigns, worked with colleagues in law enforcement to build new Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion programs, and continued to move the treatment system towards quality outcomes.

Resources include HELP4WV, which offers 24/7 confidential support and resource referrals through call, text, and chat lines. HELP4WV also offers a Children’s Crisis and Referral line. Residents may call HELP4WV at 844-HELP4WV, text at 844-435-7498, or chat at www.help4wv.com.

HELP304 offers social and emotional counseling through its professional crisis counselors. People may contact Help304 at 1-877-HELP304, text at 1-877-435-7304, or chat at http://help304.com. The Suicide & Crisis Lifeline (988) provides 24/7 free and confidential support, prevention, and crisis resources. 

For more information on West Virginia’s efforts to combat the substance use epidemic, visit the ODCP website and dashboard.

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