Why opioid dependence varies so dramatically across U.S. states

The opioid crisis is a national health emergency, but some states are hit harder than others.

California, Rhode Island, West Virginia, Kentucky and Florida suffer the most from opioid abuse, according to Fair Health, a New York-based nonprofit market research firm that analyzed 26 billion privately-billed medical and dental insurance claims from 2002 until 2017.

“Using that database, the national heat map represents opioid abuse and dependence [insurance] claim lines as a percentage of total medical claim lines by state in 2017,” the researchers said. The darker colors have the higher percentages of claims.

The firm mapped out how each state was affected by opioids, as well as the medical help residents received, the total cost of those procedures, plus the age and socio-economic background of patients.

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