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West Virginia sees slight decline in overdose deaths

March 4, 2022 GMT

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — After facing an uptick in overdose deaths during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, health officials in West Virginia are cautiously optimistic that numbers are on the decline.

From January 2019 to January 2020, West Virginia saw 869 overdose deaths, according to data released by the Centers for Disease Control. That number rose to 1,510 between April 2020 to April 2021.

“As in many other states, West Virginia experienced an increase in overdose deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic as people were isolated and unable to connect with others,” said Dr. Matthew Christiansen, director of West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources’ Office of Drug Control Policy.

From September 2020 to September 2021, that number declined to 1,284 overdose deaths, according to the CDC.

“While no overdoses are acceptable, we are encouraged by this data and will continue our efforts to end West Virginia’s substance use epidemic,” Christiansen said.