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An (almost) hopeless fight – opioid abuse in the USA | NDR.de – news

Broadcast: NDR info background | 11/09/2021 | 8:33 pm | by Julia Kastein

25 Min
| Available until November 9th, 2022

More and more Americans are dying from an opioid overdose. West Virginia has become a drug hotspot – despite many offers of help.

The United States reported a sad record last year, with nearly 95,000 drug deaths. Above all opioid abuse is increasing. It all started in the early 2000s with the pain reliever Oxycontin: Hundreds of thousands of Americans swallowed the opioid on prescription and became addicted. After that, many switched to heroin and other drugs. Fentanyl is now the main problem.

The situation is particularly dramatic in West Virginia and there in the former port city of Huntington on the Ohio River. Formerly known as a transshipment point for raw materials from the Appalachian Mountains. Now notorious as the “opioid capital” of the US. According to estimates, over 10 percent of the 45,000 inhabitants are addicted. There is a real industry out there to help them with withdrawal and rehab. Billions of dollars have been invested. Even so, the number of overdose victims has risen dramatically in the past year. One reason is the corona pandemic. There are hardly any prospects for the many addicts in this poor region with high unemployment.

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