In West Virginia, Few Opioid OD Survivors Get Good Follow-Up Care: Study

West Virginia has the highest opioid overdose death rate in the United States, four times higher than the national average.

This study included 301 people from the state, average age 34.5 years, who had a non-fatal opioid overdose between 2014 and 2016. Sixty percent were male and 91 percent were white.

Afterward, only about 10 percent received recommended treatment to help fight their opioid addiction, including medications such as buprenorphine, and mental health counseling.

"A non-fatal opioid overdose is a significant life event, and it represents an opportunity for the health care system to step in to help prevent future deaths," said study co-lead author Brendan Saloner. "Our findings indicate that many people are missing the lifesaving opportunity to start treatment."

Saloner is an assistant professor in the departments of health policy and management and mental health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore.

Visits to doctors for opioid addiction rose sharply in the month after an overdose, but then returned to pre-overdose levels. Twelve months after an overdose, only 7.3 percent of patients were taking buprenorphine, the study found.

And even though more than half of patients were diagnosed with depression, anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, they did not receive improved mental health medication after their overdose, according to the study.

Co-lead author and Hopkins medical student Neel Koyawala said it's important to connect people with care when an overdose happens and to follow them over time.

"Looking at these data, it's clear that's not happening for the vast majority of patients who experience an opioid overdose," he said in a Hopkins news release.

While this study focused on West Virginia, others have suggested that lack of treatment after an opioid overdose is a nationwide problem, according to Saloner.

"Our key message is that we can be better and we must be better. There is no choice, really," he said in the release.

"There's a lot of talk about how we need to get serious on this issue and get death rates to go down. But if people aren't getting appropriate treatment in the aftermath of an overdose, we're setting many up for failure," Saloner noted.

The study was recently published online in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

More information

The U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse has more about the U.S. opioid overdose crisis.


West, virginia dispensed 31 million fewer pills

Passage of the GOPs health legislation may yet depend on how the Senate version sits with the American electorate. It how are bipolar disorder and ADHD different? came just two weeks after Preece had received an earlier prescription for opioids originally prescribed for an injury as a which herbs help reduce inflammation? coal miner after he was caught in a rock fall. Yet within what to know about bipolar disorder and anger six months he was addicted to the opioids. I have never been in that practice. Treatment for...

But local and regional reporters should report on treatment shortages now, in order to ensure that assistance remains accessible to anyone trying to get clean. She said she registered as a Democrat when she was 18 because her parents were humans can learn new foreign words while asleep Democrats but gradually realized that she fell somewhere in between the two parties. Hatcher weaned himself off the drugs with the help of counseling in 2013. He got his job back at Walmart but regards those years as a lost decade.