The Mid-Atlantic area of the United States is an area on the Eastern seaboard tucked away in between the Southeast region of the country and New England. It is made up of seven states: Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, and West Virginia. It also includes the major city of Washington, D.C. This is an area that has been ravaged by addiction, especially hit hard several years ago by America’s ongoing opioid epidemic. Previously, due to major population density in major cities such as New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C., it was a hotbed for other American drug crises such as the 1980’s crack epidemic.

As America takes steps to combat the opioid crisis and continues to address addiction as a chronic illness and a public health crisis, the cities and states within the Mid-Atlantic area of the United States continue to deal with issues surrounding addiction, alcoholism, substance use disorder, rising overdoses and overdose deaths, and public health issues arising from drugs and alcohol.

Let’s take a look at some of the more recent statistics involving addiction, the opioid crisis, overdose deaths, and the public health impact of substance use disorder in the states that make up the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States.

MARYLAND

The number of unintentional drug and alcohol-related intoxication death has risen steadily in Maryland from 2007 to 2018. In 2007 there were 815 related fatalities, compared to 2406 in 2018. The majority of these fatal deaths were due to opioids. Although the numbers are not verified as of yet, according to preliminary date from the Vital Statistics Administration (VSA) of the Maryland Department of Health (MDH), there were increases in unintentional intoxication fatalities related to nearly all major drug categories in Maryland in the first calendar quarter of 2020. The numbers show an increase from the first three months in 2019, with the majority of all fatalities being linked to opioids, and Fentanyl was involved in 83.5% of all cases.

WASHINGTON, DC

Nearly 70% of all drug overdose fatalities taking place in Washington, D.C. involve opioids. While the current numbers for Washington, D.C. are unavailable, there are some positive trends for the local area for the last reported numbers. This includes a decline in deaths related to heroin, a slight decline in overdose deaths from 2017 to 2018, and Washington, D.C. medical providers wrote 25 opioid prescriptions for every 100 persons, compared to the national average of 51.4 prescriptions for every 100 persons.

VIRGINIA

Based on the last reported numbers in the state of Virginia, there seems to be a positive, if only slight, trend in drug-related issues. While Virginia still reports drug addiction increasing throughout the state, and contributing to multiple adverse public health effects, both Emergency Room or Emergency Department visits due to opioid overdoses were down in 2019. In 2018, Virginia saw 7321 emergency department visits and 1059 deaths, while in 2019 those numbers were reported to be (on the date of 10/18/2019) down t o 5832 emergency department visits and 650 deaths. There was also a decrease in overdose related deaths due to prescription opioids, while drug-related fatalities due to heroin or fentanyl remained stable.

PENNSYLVANIA

In the state of Pennsylvania, 65% of drug overdose deaths in 2018 involved opioids. The total of fatalities in that year was 2866. In 2018, according to the latest statistics available, Pennsylvania medical providers were just under the national average of opioid prescriptions, writing 49.9 opioid prescriptions for every 100 persons compared to the national average of 51.4 prescriptions for every 100 persons. Throughout Pennsylvania between January 1, 2018 and July 18, 2020, 40,755 doses of naloxone had been administered by EMS, there were 26,335 emergency room visits throughout the state due for opioid overdoses, and there were an estimated 287,000+ individuals through Pennsylvania that suffered from a drug use disorder (this last number does not include individuals that meet criteria for having an alcohol use disorder.)

NEW YORK

Most data for New York is split between New York City (due to high population density) and the state of New York. In 2018, New York medical providers wrote 34 opioid prescriptions for every 100 persons, which was one of the lowest rates in the United States, with the national rate being 51.4 prescriptions per every 100 persons. Based on the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services estimates, approximately 12 percent of New York State residents 12 years of age or older experience a substance use disorder annually. OASAS estimates that over 1.9 million New Yorkers have a substance use disorder.

NEW JERSEY

In the state of New Jersey, the numbers in certain areas of substance abuse are climbing. Binge drinking is up across the board in every ethnic category, with 20.2% of whites, 13% of blacks, 23.5% of Hispanics, and 14.4% of Asian residents in the state dealing with binge drinking issues. New Jersey is also seeing a rise in drug-induced death rates, steadily trending upwards since 2009. Nearly 90% of drug overdose deaths in New Jersey in 2018 involved opioids. The total number in that year of drug related deaths was 2900. However, in 2018, New Jersey reported its lowest rate of opioid prescriptions since the data became available in 2006, with medical providers writing 38.9 opioid prescriptions for every 100 persons. This is much lower than the national average of 51.4 prescriptions for every 100 persons.

DELAWARE

In the state of Delaware, there were 401 reported drug overdose deaths in 2018. Of that total, 88% involved opioids. Unlike other states throughout the Mid-Atlantic area, Delaware had a larger number of opioid prescriptions written in 2018 by comparison. For that year, Delaware medical providers wrote 60.6 opioid prescriptions for every 100 persons, above that national rate of 51.4 prescriptions per 100 persons. In 2019, Delaware ranked 42 out of the 50 states in drug deaths by state, with 29.2 number of drug deaths per 100,000 population.

WEST VIRGINIA

West Virginia has been ravaged by addiction, most specifically the nationwide opioid crisis. The state of West Virginia ranked last in 2019 in number of deaths due to drug injury, ranked as the 50th out of 50 states and 48.3 number of deaths due to addiction per 100,000 population. In 2018, drug overdose deaths involving opioids totaled 702 people, while deaths involving synthetic opioids like Fentanyl have held steady the last several years. There was a decline from 2017 to 2018 in the number of deaths involving prescription opioids.

If you or someone you know needs help for addiction or co-occurring disorder issues, please give us a call. Maryland Addiction Recovery Center offers the most comprehensive dual diagnosis addiction treatment in the Mid-Atlantic area. If we aren’t the best fit for you or your loved one, we will take the necessary time to work with you to find a treatment center or provider that better fits your needs. Please give us a call at (410) 773-0500 or email our team at info@marylandaddictionrecovery.com. For more information on all of our drug addiction, alcohol addiction and co-occurring disorder services and recovery resources, please visit our web site at www.marylandaddictionrecovery.com.

Zach Snitzer is the Corporate Director of Marketing at Maryland Addiction Recovery Center and is responsible for the business development, marketing, branding, public relations and social media strategies of the organization.