April 7, 2017
By Paul Collins
MARTINSVILLE–From 2007 to 2015, the city of Martinsville had a 330 percent increase in the opioid overdose death rate (from 6.9 to 29.7 per 100,000 population), according to figures provided by Dr. Jody Hershey, director of the West Piedmont Health District.
The city of Martinsville also had the highest three-year-average opioid death rate (from 2013 to 2015) of any locality in the district and more than twice Virginia’s rate. The West Piedmont Health District is comprised of Henry, Patrick and Franklin counties, and the city of Martinsville.
The city of Martinsville also had the highest opioid death rate for 2015 of any locality in the district and more than three times Virginia’s rate.
Data for 2016 is incomplete, preliminary and subject to change.
Hershey, Martinsville Police Chief Sean Dunn and Sharon Ortiz-Garcia, district epidemiologist for the West Piedmont Health District all expressed concern about the area’s opioid overdose and heroin problems.
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