Opioid overdoses are clustered in poor areas with few job opportunities, according to a new study.
Researchers found the opioid overdose death rate varied widely by county.
Rates were highest in poorer counties and those with high levels of family distress, as well as areas dependent on mining.
Some rural counties, especially in Appalachia, have the highest opioid overdose death rates in the nation, the study found.
“The drug epidemic is a pressing concern among policymakers, but the media portrayal of the drug overdose epidemic has largely been that it is a national crisis, with the common refrain that ‘addiction does not discriminate,'” lead author Shannon Monnat of Syracuse University in New York told HealthDay. “Failure to consider the substantial geographic variation in drug-related mortality rates may lead to failure to target the hardest-hit areas.”
The findings are published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.