The National Crisis
The opioid crisis is regarded as the deadliest drug epidemic in American history, as estimates show that in the US alone, opioids have killed more that 183,000 between 1999 and 2015. Sales of – and overdose deaths related to – opioids has quadrupled since 1999, and preliminary data from the CDC shows that between 59,000 and 65,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2016.
Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death among Americans under 50, killing more people than guns and car accidents.
Each day, more than 1,000 people are treated in emergency departments for misusing prescription opioids, and CDC estimates indicate that 91 Americans die daily of opioid overdose.
Data on national statistics came from the following sources:
“Understanding the Epidemic.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 16 Dec. 2016. Web.
Brodwin, Erin. “Deaths from opioid overdoses have jumped – and one age group is being affected at stark rates.” Business Insider. Business Insider, 28 Feb. 2017. Web.
Katz, Josh. “Drug Deaths in America Are Rising Faster Than Ever.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 05 June 2017. Web.
Lopez, German. “In one year, drug overdoses killed more Americans than the entire Vietnam War did.” Vox. Vox, 06 June 2017. Web.
The Local Crisis
The Northwestern Prevention Collaborative is a collaborative effort between four substance abuse coalitions that span five counties in Northwestern Virginia, plus the City of Winchester. The five counties are Clarke, Frederick, Page, Shenandoah, and Warren. This area is also referred to as the Lord Fairfax Planning District, abbreviated LFPD. See the map below for an outline of the area in which we operate.
The Lord Fairfax Planning District’s estimated population, according to the US Census, is 230,845. Though this area is still quite rural, it has seen explosive growth since the early 2000’s, partly due to its convenient location along interstates 81 and 66, the intersection of which lies along the junction of Frederick, Shenandoah and Warren counties. This population boom, coupled with the area’s access to two major highways and close proximity to Baltimore (considered the nation’s heroin capital) and Washington, have given way to higher crime rates and ease of accessibility to heroin. Winchester, VA is approximately 98 miles from Baltimore and 75 miles from D.C.
Local Heroin Use Rates
The table below shows the rankings of heroin case rates by four LFPD localities as compared to the state’s 95 counties and 38 independent cities.
Of note in terms of the number of cases heard, Winchester ranked first in 2012 with 206.05 cases/100,000 and 1st in 2014 with 388.48/100,000 (almost double).
In addition to the heroin cases above, Warren County also ranked 6th in the state in 2015 for prescription opioid cases at 125 cases (a rate of 320.66/100,000). Warren County ranked 10th for these prosecutions in 2014, with 149 cases (382.18/100,000), and 6th in the state in 2012 for opioid cases with 183 (482.05/100,000).