In 2017 the state of Pennsylvania had the third-highest rate for drug overdoses in the country. Although the state has since lowered this number, people are still losing their lives because of accidental drug overdoses, which are mainly due to heroin and other opioid drug addiction. Overdoses from all drugs have also increased in the United States. The National Institute on Drug Abuse states that:
70,200 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2017, including illicit drugs and prescription opioids—a 2-fold increase in a decade. (NIDA)
Pittsburgh has been especially hit hard by the opioid addiction epidemic in the area. As the largest city in western Pennsylvania, it has always been an industrial capital in the Ohio Valley and lies close to the border with West Virginia and Ohio. Interstate drug trafficking is a big problem that accounts for many of the drug overdoses in Pittsburgh, PA.
Opioid Overdoses in the Pittsburgh Area
The increase in addiction and accidental overdose in Pittsburgh and throughout the U.S. is a result of the nationwide opioid epidemic. In January 2018, the Governor of Pennsylvania, Tom Wolf, signed a disaster declaration about the opioid crisis and has since renewed it six times. The Governor also took action on the opioid crisis by implementing an opioid crisis command center in 2018.
The Opioid Command Center meets every week to discuss the opioid crisis. The command center is overseen by 17 state agencies and the departments of Health and Drug and Alcohol Programs. Additionally, the Governor launched an Opioid Data Dashboard 2.0 to be accessed by health agencies, law enforcement, to help end the opioid crisis in Pennsylvania and Pittsburgh.
Opioid Command Center in Pittsburgh
The Dashboard contains information about the progress of the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, rescue information, including the number of doses of naloxone administered to reverse an overdose and the number of calls to the Department of Drug and Alcohol Program’s hotline. It also displays the available drug and alcohol treatment centers in Pittsburgh and throughout the state. The efforts of the Governor are proving to help end the drug overdose crisis. In a report from the Pennsylvania government office website from July 2019, affirms that the number of deaths in Pennsylvania have decreased in Allegheny County as well as statewide.
Office Data released last week by the federal Drug Enforcement Agency shows that there was approximately an 18 percent decrease in the number of overdose deaths from 2017 to 2018. Across the state, 41 counties saw a decrease in the overdose death rate, but 23 counties saw an increase in their overdose death rate. (PAGOV)
In 2018 the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services published ongoing statistics about opioid-related deaths. In a website similar to the opioid data dashboard, residents of Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania can read up to date statistics about drug overdoses due to opioids like heroin, Fentanyl, and other opioid drugs. Open Data Pennsylvania offers Pennsylvania Quick Stats of the recent data to the public. According to the quick stats:
From January 2018 – August 2019, there were 24,607 Doses of Naloxone, a drug that reverses opioid overdoses administered by emergency medical services that helped prevent deaths from overdoses from a person taking opiates. Also, From January 2018 to August 2019, there were 15,987 emergency room visits for opioid overdoses. Finally, statistics from the same time frame show that from January 2018 – August 2019 three were 25,534 Get Help Now Hotline Calls made from people needing help with their substance abuse or alcoholism and other behavioral health-related concerns. Last, the quick stats list that from January 2018 to August 2109 there were 3,012 cases of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome.
Need Help With Overcoming Addiction?
The drug addiction rate in Pittsburgh is slowly improving, but not fast enough; there are still many people dying from overdoses every day. The solution on how to prevent a person you know who is at risk for drug overdose because of their addiction to opiate drugs or other drugs is for them to receive quality drug treatment. The treatment programs we offer have longstanding success rates because we offer individualized treatment programs that utilize evidence-based forms of therapy.