Study: McDowell County leads in opioid hospitalizations

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – A study shows that McDowell County led West Virginia in the number of people hospitalized for opioid-related reasons in 2014.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports a ratio of about 750 residents per 100,000 in McDowell County stayed at a hospital because of opioid abuse, including overdoses.

The newspaper reports that 2014 was the most recent year for which the data was available from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

AHRQ spokesman Lorin Smith says the study relies on discharge information released by insurance companies and hospitals.

Of West Virginia’s 55 counties, 51 were accounted for in the study. Smith says counties where less than 11 people per 100,000 were treated for substance abuse issues – including opioid overdoses – were withheld, to ensure individuals couldn’t be identified by the data.

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