West Virginia is the leader in opioid overdose deaths in the United States.
In 2017, the overdose mortality rate was about 50 deaths per 100,000 population. It's about 1,000 a year.
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Ohio ranks second with a rate of 39 per 100,000.
What is the best way to treat opioid addiction?
Dr. Chess Yellott of the Renovo Center in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, says – Suboxone.
He is in favor of Suboxone being available over the counter. And he says that if it were done, if Suboxone was widely available, the overdose mortality rate could be cut in half – or more.
When did you notice for the first time the increase in the number of overdose deaths from opioids?
"Five or six years ago, the death rate just went up," said Dr. Yellott at This Week, Morgan County, with Russell Mokhiber. "They were relatively consistent, you know, 7,000 to 10,000 people died of opiates in the United States each year and all of a sudden they exploded. I said – someone poisons heroin and it turned out that it was true. Fentanyl, a more concentrated drug, is 50 times more potent than heroin and carfentanyl, 150 times. It's impossible to measure and it's so easy to overdose. "
Dr. Yellott says that Suboxone works in the treatment of opioid addiction.
"It's an easy and very effective treatment," said Dr. Yellott. "It just eliminates the withdrawal for beginners. And people have equalized for the first time. You went to work, they took care of their children. Life was beautiful It really made a difference. "
How long does an addict have to stay on Suboxone?
"The medical advice is – do not stop," said Dr. Yellott.
How did you become interested in addiction issues?
"Perhaps because there is a lot of alcoholism in the family and many family members have made AA."
What causes the addiction?
"It's not just the individual, it's not just the drugs. And of course, it's not just drugs. There are many other addictions – money games, video games, arcade games. "
"The root causes of addiction are the negative experiences of childhood. Children are separated from parents. They do not have a good connection. Other reasons – family trauma, violence, drug use, alcoholism, work absences too many hours a day. Some children do not have parents. And this puts them in place and causes problems in the endorphin system. Children who have little confidence in themselves do not resist. They do not see that bad things will get better. Children who are well behaved – they are resilient. They know that if there is a setback, things will improve. And they live their lives and have a good time. "
Dr. Yellott is a supporter of Medicare for all.
"Many problems would be relieved," said Dr. Yellott. "We have a death rate due to lack of insurance. People are not going to get treatment. They wait too long to get their medications or they do not get them. We probably have 20,000 Americans a year dying from lack of health care or lack of money. And people are constantly bankrupt. Twenty people probably stopped paying their health bills while we talked. About every five seconds, a family no longer pays their medical bills. In Shenandoah, one of my associates received a $ 90,000 bill because she could not pay for her child's insurance and her salary had been reduced by $ 9,000 a year for ten years. And she was not paid much to begin. It's a pretty typical picture.