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Pennsylvania and Addiction
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is home to an enormous amount of American history, the sixth-largest economy in the nation, and two major metropolitan areas. On the eastern seaboard, Philadelphia is the sixth-largest city in the country and is historically, culturally, and economically important given that it is just a short commute away from both New York City and Washington, D.C. due to its position in the center of the northeastern megalopolis. Over on the western end of the state is Pittsburgh, which has long been a center of manufacturing, culture, and academia. In between Pennsylvania’s two prominent cities is a massive, mostly rural expanse of land that features diverse geography and culture, including plenty of agriculture as well as small cities. As is the case in most U.S. states, neither Pennsylvania’s urban centers nor its rural areas are immune from the scourge of the drug epidemic.
The CDC grimly reports that the Keystone State ranks fourth nationwide in terms of its drug overdose death rate. In 2016, a staggering 4,627 people in Pennsylvania died from an overdose. This works out to a rate of 37.9 deaths per 100,000 people in the state and adds up to be the third-highest total number of fatal overdoses behind only California and Florida, both of which are states with much larger populations.
Pennsylvania’s overdose epidemic puts it in a class with only West Virginia, Ohio, and New Hampshire in terms of states with overdose death rates that are over 35 per 100,000 people. As is the case in these and other states, Pennsylvania residents struggle with drug addiction of many different varieties across all different classes of substances. All such problems are serious, but of course, the opiate abuse that often follows the doctor-recommended use of opioid prescriptions is to blame for the worst of it.
Addiction Statistics in Pennsylvania
All available drug addiction and abuse statistics for Pennsylvania paint an ugly picture. Not only is the rate of overdose deaths high, but the rate has generally been increasing from one year to the next over the last decade or so. Diving into some individual statistics about Pennsylvania helps one understand just how dire the situation has been in recent years. Here are a few figures about drug abuse in Pennsylvania:
As of 2016, the drug overdose death rate in Pennsylvania was nearly double the national average of 19.8 deaths per 100,000 people.
This overdose death rate marks an alarmingly high 44.1% increase over the 2015 rate of 26.3 deaths per 100,000, which itself was a 20.1% rise in that statistic from 2014.
Opioid prescribing data in Pennsylvania for 2016 show that 69.5 per 100,000 people were given prescriptions, which was slightly higher than the national average.
Among all drug overdose deaths in the Keystone State in 2016, 85% of them involved some kind of opioid.
Of all drug overdose deaths, 52% of them involved fentanyl-related opioids, 45% involved heroin, and 25% of them involved prescription opioids.
In terms of non-opioid drugs that contributed to overdoses, 33% of such deaths involved benzodiazepines and 27% of them involved cocaine.
In Pennsylvania, 23% of all people surveyed reported taking part in binge drinking in the last month, indicating a high rate of alcohol abuse as well.
While there's absolutely no way to to make the case that drug and alcohol abuse are not a serious problem in the Keystone State, it is important to note that as awareness of these issues has increased, so has the number of resources available. These worrisome statistics are publicly available and are dissected closely by medical professionals as well as by policymakers. Now more than ever, there are information sources as well as proven treatment options available in Pennsylvania to anybody who thinks that they might have a problem.
Substance abuse counseling approach
Cognitive behavioral therapy
Brief intervention approach
12-step facilitation approach
Contingency management motivational incentive
Dialectical behavioral therapy
Rational emotive behavioral therapy
Community reinforcement plus vouchers
Cash or self-payment
Private health insurance
Federal or any government funding for substance abuse programs
State financed health insurance plan other than Medicaid
Military insurance e.g. TRICARE
Access to recovery ATR voucher
IHS Tribal Urban ITU funds
No payment accepted
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