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Wyoming hasn't seen the type of opioid addiction that has plagued other states across the country. A major reason for this is its sparsely populated nature. But even with lower levels compared to states like West Virginia and Ohio, the Equality State has not escaped the crisis unscathed.
The state saw a drastic increase in the number of residents who died of opioid-related causes in 2003, which mirrored what was happening on the national level. The number of deaths in Wyoming due to illicit and prescription opioids went from a rate of 1.4 per 100,000 residents between 2003 and 2005 to 6.4 per 100,000 between 2008 and 2010. This represented quite a huge leap.
According to a lawsuit filed by the state of Wyoming in 2018 against Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin - one of the most prescribed opioid-based medications - the state paid $2.29 million in additional Medicaid claims to treat opioid-related addiction from 2008 to 2017.
From 2008 to about 2014, Wyoming's death rate remained in line with the national average. But starting around 2014, Wyoming began to make headway in reducing the number of its residents who were dying from opioid use.
According to data from the National Survey of Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), Wyoming is generally below the national average in prescription drug misuse among individuals ages 12 and up. In the state of Wyoming, prescription drug misuse is most common among young adults ages 18-25, though rates are decreasing both among this age group and school-age students. Of young adults that report misusing prescription opioids, most deny use in the previous month.
Among school-age children, some counties exceed the state average for prescription drug misuse among students in middle school (with the examples of Campbell, Fremont, Natrona, Platte, and Washakie) and high school (with the examples of Campbell, Carbon, Fremont, Goshen, Hot Springs, Park, Teton, Uinta, and Weston).
Wyoming has a stabilizing rate of poisonings deaths due to opioids while the nation's overall rates continue to increase. Carbon County reports the highest rate of opioid-related inpatient discharges.
Though Wyoming is below the national average for prescription drug misuse, it is true that Wyoming generally exceeds the national average in opioid prescribing rates. Alternatively, Wyoming is below the national average in morphine milligram equivalent doses distributed per capita, though this gap is steadily closing.
Finally, two counties in Wyoming fill more prescriptions than people residing in that county (Uinta and Hot Springs), and one county prescribes more opioids than people in that county (Uinta).
However, the Wyoming State Hospital, which provides quality active treatment for a variety of mental disorders, is located in Uinta County, which could explain the higher number of prescriptions fills. Schedule II prescription drug fills slightly decreased from 2014 to 2015.
In the year of 2017, Wyoming providers wrote 64.8 opioid prescriptions for every 100 persons. The average U.S. rate in the same year was 58.7 prescriptions per 100 persons.
In the same year, there were more than 70,200 drug overdose deaths in the U.S. - an age-adjusted rate of 21.7 per 100,000 persons. Among these, 47,600 involved opioids. The sharpest increase occurred among deaths involving Fentanyl and Fentanyl analogs (other synthetic narcotics) with more than 28,400 overdose deaths in 2017.
The age-adjusted rate of drug overdose deaths has not significantly changed in Wyoming. In 2017, there were 12.2 drug overdose deaths per 100,000 persons. While the majority of drug overdose deaths in 2017 involved an opioid, overdose deaths involving opioids are not included for the state because the data reported did not meet inclusion criteria.
Data from 2018 produced by the University of Wyoming's Survey and Analysis Center suggested that opioid abuse, both prescription and illicit, had started to decline as related poisoning death rates stabilized. Between 2014 and 2016, Wyoming averaged 42 overdose deaths from opioids, with an average of 7.3 deaths per 100,000 people. Those numbers have since stabilized, with no sharp increase in the number of opioid-related deaths.
Compared to the state of Ohio, which in 2017 had 46.3 deaths per 10,000 residents, and West Virginia, which had 57.8, Wyoming seems to have avoided the drastic damage some other parts of the country still face.
One major reason Wyoming has not experienced this drastic spike, is it has the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program in place, which was enacted by the Wyoming Legislature in 2003.
This program, which established the Wyoming Online Prescription Database, is an avenue for pharmacists to track prescriptions and make sure patients haven't been seeing multiple doctors to obtain duplicate prescriptions for opioids.
Of the new HIV cases in 2016, 20 occurred in Wyoming. Among males, 38.9 percent of new HIV cases were attributed to opioid and prescription opioid abuse or male-to-male contact and opioid abuse. There were no new reported cases of HIV attributed to opioid and prescription opioid abuse among women.
In 2015, an estimated 289 persons were living with a diagnosed HIV infection in Wyoming — a rate of 59 cases per 100,000 persons. Of those, 24.3 percent of cases among males were attributed to opioid and prescription opioid abuse or male-to-male contact and opioid abuse. Among females, 22.5 percent were living with HIV attributed to opioid and prescription opioid abuse.
The good news is that Wyoming has numerous drug rehab facilities in place. There are many types of treatment centers available such as long term addiction treatment facilities, short term drug abuse treatment, outpatient detoxification programs, outpatient substance abuse treatment services, inpatient drug abuse treatment and others.
There is a broad range of drug rehab facilities available. They include individual psychotherapy, dialectical behavior therapy, couple/family therapy, trauma therapy, trauma-related counseling, cognitive/behavior therapy and others, to name a few. If you need rehab in the state of Wyoming, all you need to do is place a call to any of the available rehab centers available.
If you are addicted to alcohol or drugs, it is imperative that you look for professional help as soon as you possibly can. However, you might not know where to start or the options that are open to you. Similarly, you may have little to no idea about the differences between the different treatment facilities and the programs they have in store for their patients.
Do you need help finding the right drug or alcohol rehab facility in your area?
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