The American Opioid Epidemic – Part II
Although this map may be hard to look at, we must face the current opioid epidemic in the United States head-on. The roots of this crisis are deeply institutionalized, starting with the doctors who over-prescribe opioids or misdiagnose patients. It is so serious that is has decreased American life expectancy and resulted in an economic burden of $78.5 billion a year (according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). This map shows the number of opioid overdose deaths by state as well as the number of opioid prescriptions written. Strangely enough, many of the states with the lowest number of deaths have the highest prescription rates. There are also multiple states where the number of prescriptions written tops the number of people living there. The highest opioid overdose rates are concentrated in the Northeast, whereas the highest prescription rates are in the South and Midwest. The map also includes a median household income layer which allows users to compare economic status to opioid use and overdoses.
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