West Virginia

Department of
Health & Human Resources

DHHR Releases 2016 West Virginia Overdose Fatality Analysis

1/23/2018

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR), Bureau for Public Health (BPH) today released the 2016 West Virginia Overdose Fatality Analysis: Healthcare Systems Utilization, Risk Factors, and Opportunities for Intervention.  The effort was led by DHHR, the West Virginia Board of Pharmacy and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Work on the analysis began in November with findings released during an Opioid Response Plan Expert Panel meeting held in December 2017.   

“The report clearly identifies factors that we can now say contribute to the ‘profile of an overdosed person’ in West Virginia, highlighting opportunities for intervention in the 12 months prior to their death,” said Dr. Rahul Gupta, State Health Officer and Commissioner of DHHR’s Bureau for Public Health.  “Governor Jim Justice has directed DHHR to utilize all available resources to combat this epidemic.  Since the analysis shows numerous missed opportunities, we now need to use these data to target specific interventions to help save lives of West Virginians.”

The 61-page analysis identifies multiple key findings including:  
  • 81% of overdose decedents interacted with at least one of the health systems in this report.
  • Males were twice as likely as females to die from a drug overdose, but females were 80% more likely than males to use all the health systems in the 12 months prior to their death.
  • 91% of all decedents had a documented history within the West Virginia Board of Pharmacy’s Controlled Substances Monitoring Program (CSMP). In the 30 days prior to death, nearly half (49%) of female decedents filled a controlled substance prescription in the 30 days prior to death, as compared to 36% of males.
  • Decedents were three times more likely to have three or more prescribers as compared to the overall CSMP population. Decedents were more than 70 times likely to have prescriptions at four or more pharmacies compared to the overall CSMP population.
  • 33% of decedents tested positive for a controlled substance, but had no record of a prescription at their time of death, indicating diversion of a controlled substance prescription.
  • 71% of all decedents utilized emergency medical services within the 12 months prior to their death. Regardless of the type of EMS run, only 31% of decedents had naloxone administration documented in their EMS record.
  • Decedents were much more likely to have Medicaid (71%) in the 12 months prior to their death as compared to West Virginia’s adult population ages 19-64 (23%).
  • More than half (56%) of all decedents were ever incarcerated. Decedents were at an increased risk of death in the 30 days after their date of release, especially in decedents with only some high school education.
  • Males working in blue collar industries with a higher risk of injury may be at an increased risk for overdose death.

The 2016 West Virginia Overdose Fatality Analysis: Healthcare Systems Utilization, Risk Factors, and Opportunities for Intervention is now posted online at www.dhhr.wv.gov/bph.    

Contact Information

Media contact: DHHRCommunications@wv.gov or (304) 558-7899

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