New data from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the University of Pittsburgh shows overdose deaths last year in Pennsylvania on the rise again. Our state’s overdose death rate is almost twice as high as the nation as a whole.
Indiana County’s overdose rate is improving, but is still far too high. The county ranks 15th in the state, with 44 overdose deaths per 100,000 residents. In 2016, the county had the 6th-worst overdose death rate in the state, with 57 deaths per 100,000 residents. We were third-worst in 2015, but with at 41 deaths per 100,000, it shows how much death rates have risen across Pennsylvania.
Two of our neighboring counties are doing relatively well. Clearfield County is doing very well. It ranks 65th among the 67 counties, with six overdose deaths per 100,000 residents. Jefferson County ranks 57th, with 14 deaths per 100,000.
Other neighboring counties continue to struggle. Westmoreland County has the 8th-worst overdose death rate (55 per 100,000); Armstrong is 6th-worst (59); Cambria County is 3rd-worst (65).
Warren and Cameron each reported no overdose deaths. The two with worse death rates than Cambria were Montour and Philadelphia, which had 77 deaths per 100,000 last year.
Pennsylvania had 42 deaths per 100,000 residents last year, compared to the national average of 2s. And a word of caution: some overdose victims may have died at hospitals in other counties than that in which they lived. For instance, Westmoreland County residents could have been brought to the Indiana Regional Medical Center and passed away there.