The authors believe this could help policy makers at the federal and state level better target intervention and prevention strategies, though statistics have shown prescription use is not the problem, illegal recreational use is.
The data show that Alabama's Fourth Congressional District had 166 opioid prescriptions per 100 people, the highest rate of any district in the nation. Districts in Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, Virginia, and Oklahoma rounded out the top ten areas with the highest prescribing rates. Basically, prescription pain falls down along political lines as readily as vaccine denial does, except the opposite party.
The lowest opioid prescribing rates tended to be concentrated in congressional districts near urban centers, including Washington, D.C., New York, Boston, Atlanta, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Virginia was the only state that had congressional districts with top- and bottom-ten opioid prescribing rates.
Between 1999 and 2010, prescription opioid-related overdose deaths quadrupled, but those are a small fraction. In 2016 opioid overdoses resulted in more than 42,000 deaths, many of them, like the musician Prince, were illegally obtained. IN 2017 President Trump officially declared a public health emergency.