Background Image for Header: West Virginia scenery
Combatting substance abuse and the opioid epidemic
West Virginia By the Numbers
At 52 deaths per 100,000 people, West Virginia had the highest drug overdose death rate in the country in 2016, followed by Ohio at 39.1 deaths.
West Virginia’s rate rose from 41.5 deaths to 52 deaths per 100,000 people in the span of one year.
West Virginia has the highest overdose rates for natural and semi-synthetic opioids (such as Fentanyl) and synthetic opioids (such as heroin).
Researchers are studying the effect of the increased use of opioids on labor market participation among prime-age adults and on the ability of employers to find workers. Finding workers who are clean of drugs has challenged employers, particularly in southwest Virginia and West Virginia.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond
We lose 30% of applicants due to drug test failure.
People come in to apply for jobs, but when they find out we require a drug test, they ‘forget something in their car’ and never come back.
Drug problems are holding down labor force participation in West Virginia—it seems like the men, at least, are all either disabled or on drugs.