What You Should Know About
Drug Abuse in West Virginia

  • Substance abuse affects people from all walks of life and is a growing problem throughout the state of West Virginia, with over 152,000 West Virginians in need of treatment.
  • In 2008, West Virginia had the highest rate of prescription drug overdose deaths in the United States, surpassing both motor vehicle crashes and falls as the leading cause of accidental death. In five years (1999 - 2004), deaths resulting from drug overdoses in West Virginia rose 550%. This was the largest increase of any state in the country.
  • West Virginia has one of the highest rates in the country of non-medical use of prescription pain relievers in 19 to 25 year olds. Opiates are the number one cause of death associated with drug overdoses in West Virginia.
  • From 2001 to 2010, West Virginia had a 214% increase in the number of prescription drug overdoses in the state.
  • The number of people who died in one year from overdoses of prescription drugs alone is more than six times the number of people who died from overdoses of all other illegal drugs combined.
  • From 2009 to 2012, opioid exposure reported to the WV Poison Control Center increased by 12.5% from 460 to 518 reported incidents.
  • In 2010, oxycodone and hydrocodone, both opioids, were the top two abused prescription drugs in West Virginia, oxycodone with 39% of percentage of total drugs abused and hydrocodone with 28%

For more information, check these resources:

National Survey on Drug Use and Health

West Virginia Prescription (Rx) Drug Abuse Quitline