The Opioid Crisis Among Medicaid Beneficiaries

January 21, 2016

Nearly 80 percent of the almost 1,000 fatal drug overdoses in Virginia in 2014 involved prescription painkillers, known as opioids, and heroin. To put the magnitude of Virginia’s opioid crisis in perspective, nearly three times as many Virginians die annually from drug overdoses as homicides—986 fatal drug overdoses compared to 337 murders in 2014. And, conservative estimates indicate untreated substance abuse costs Virginia state and local governments more than $600 million annually in public safety and health care services alone, according to the policy brief.

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