11 Investigates: Overdose deaths are dropping but opioids still a problem

11 Investigates: Overdose deaths are dropping but opioids still a problem

PITTSBURGH — Overdose deaths are dropping in western Pennsylvania. That has many hoping the deadly epidemic is beginning to wind down.

Newly released numbers from the DEA and analyzed by the Washington Post are providing a better idea of how this problem escalated so quickly. The data shows every legal opioid sale nationwide from 2006-2012, nearly 380 million in all.

You can now customize your WPXI News App to receive alerts for stories like this. CLICK HERE to find out how.

Content Continues Below

The new numbers break down the amount of oxycodone and hydrocodone legally distributed in western Pennsylvania and beyond.

Between 2006 and 2012, there was an average of 36 pills per person in Washington County, more than 39 per person in Westmoreland and Allegheny counties and more than 59 per person in Fayette County, the second highest rate in Pennsylvania.


The new numbers come as health leaders met Thursday for the Allegheny County Overdose Prevention Coalition's summer conference in Oakland.

In 2019, overdose deaths have dropped dramatically in westeran Pennsylvania, which everyone agrees is a step in the right direction.

But whether it's long-term progress or simply nalozone being more readily available remains unclear.

The DEA numbers show the availability of oxycodone and hydrocodone steadily increasing in nearly every county nationwide, with more than 76 billion pills available in that seven-year period.