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New study analyzes locations of drug poisoning deaths in the United States

Over the past few years, a large amount of anecdotal evidence has emerged suggesting that the number of drug-related poisonings in rural areas has rapidly increased. A new study published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine suggests that this speculation may be accurate. 

Using data from the National Survey of Drug Use and Health, Dr. Laura Rossen of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that the number of drug-related poisonings has almost quadrupled in the past 30 years. In addition, the misuse of prescription medication has been the cause of the majority of these deaths. 

Rossen and her colleagues found that across all population areas, drug use has increased at an alarming rate. Between 1999 and 2008, drug poisonings rose 297 percent in urban counties, while they jumped 394 percent in rural areas. 

The researchers suggested that the rise in death rates could be directly attributed to the increase in the number of painkiller prescriptions written annually. Rossen said in a press release that mapping and determining where drug poisonings are happening will allow public health officials to make more targeted campaigns against abuse. 

"Mapping death rates associated with drug poisoning at the county level may help elucidate geographic patterns, highlight areas where drug-related poisoning deaths are higher than expected and inform policies and programs designed to address the increase in drug-poisoning mortality and morbidity," Rosen said. 

Drug addiction isn't limited to rural or urban areas, though, and can affect any family. If someone  in your life is battling substance abuse, contact Intervention Services today to find out how we can help. 

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