Is anywhere safe from Fentanyl? –
July 20, 2020 – Meanwhile, the South, as defined by the US Census standard, is faring better than the Midwest. Out of the 12 Midwestern states, all of them saw increases in overdose deaths except Michigan and Missouri, which each had rates of decrease below 10 percent.
The Midwest suffered the nation’s starkest rate increases. South Dakota experienced a 54.4 percent rate increase in overdose deaths, the most severe in the US, while North Dakota’s rate increase came in second place at 31 percent. Efforts there to stem harms that can result from drug use still largely consist of law enforcement interdiction, exclusionary, traditional rehab services, and tone-deaf ad campaigns, like the widely mocked “Meth. We’re On It” billboards.
In comparison, four out of 16 Southern states saw decreases in their overdose death rate from 2018 to 2019: Georgia, Maryland, Arkansas and Oklahoma. In the latter two, the rate decreases were in the double digits, with Arkansas seeing a significant 16.6 percent decrease. Only Vermont saw a greater drop in its overdose death rate, at 18.1 percent.
A 2019 story from Stateline, the state policy newswire from Pew Charitable Trusts, explains how policymakers and law enforcement in the Southern states have been slower to adapt to harm reduction than their counterparts in the Northeast, but are still making progress in recent years.