Projections for WV deaths due to drugs, alcohol, suicide called “staggering, tragic, preventable”

CHARLESTON, WV (BY: SHAUNA JOHNSON, WV METRONEWS) — Without “bigger and bolder” steps to reverse the trend, a new report shows many more West Virginians will die because of drugs, alcohol and suicide in the coming years.

“We see the problem evolving in front of our eyes in real time,” said Dr. Rahul Gupta, state health officer and commissioner for the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health.

In 2015, the drug, alcohol and suicide death rate in West Virginia was 67.4 per 100,000 people — ranked No. 2 nationally, according to the report.

By 2025, researchers were projecting that rate could climb to close to 100 per 100,000 people keeping the Mountain State behind only New Mexico.

“These numbers are staggering, they’re tragic and they’re preventable,” said John Auerbach, president and CEO of the Trust for America’s Health.

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