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Oxycodone pills, a prescription pain-killer at the center of the opioid abuse crisis. (AP/Mark Lennihan) Oxycodone pills, a prescription pain-killer at the center of the opioid abuse crisis. (AP/Mark Lennihan)

Oxycodone pills, a prescription pain-killer at the center of the opioid abuse crisis. (AP/Mark Lennihan)

By Davis Versprille November 1, 2018

Does West Virginia have more overdoses than any state?

Does West Virginia have the nation’s leading rate of overdoses?

On Oct. 3, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., tweeted, "#WV has the highest overdose rate per capita of any state in our nation. That’s why I made sure the SUPPORT for Patients & Communities Act included a set aside for states like WV. This language more than tripled the amount of funding coming to our state for this coming year."

 

Here, we’ll focus on whether West Virginia "has the highest overdose rate per capita of any state in our nation."

We turned to an analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that was collected and analyzed by the Kaiser Family Foundation. The data is from 2016.

Manchin’s tweet wasn’t specific about whether he was referring to opioid overdoses specifically or overdoses generally. The Kaiser Family Foundation analysis includes data for both, so we looked at both categories.

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On both lists, West Virginia has the unhappy distinction of ranking No. 1.

Here’s a chart showing the data for opioid overdoses specifically. The data looks at the number of overdoses per 100,000 population, which is an equivalent measure to per capita. The opioid overdose rate in West Virginia easily outpaces the second-ranking state, New Hampshire.

 

As for overdoses overall, West Virginia finishes first, with Ohio ranking second.

 

Our ruling

Manchin said that West Virginia "has the highest overdose rate per capita of any state in our nation."

Official government data shows that West Virginia ranks first per capita in both opioid overdoses specifically and in overdoses more generally. We rate the statement True.

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West Virginia "has the highest overdose rate per capita of any state in our nation."
a tweet
Wednesday, October 3, 2018

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Does West Virginia have more overdoses than any state?

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