Last updated: July 17. 2013 3:29PM - 566 Views
Ralph B. Davis
Heartland News Service



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Chad Abshire


Staff Writer


WILLIAMSON —The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources compiled health statistics for Mingo County over the recent years, ranging from tobacco use, DUI’s, overdose rates, suicides, domestic violence, mental health and more.


The total population of Mingo County is 26,839 people: 97.1 percent are white; 1.8 percent are black; and 1.1 percent are another race. The median age is 40.9-years-old and the poverty rate, as of 2010, is 21.6 percent. Approximately 69.5 percent of people are a high school graduate or higher, as opposed to 81.9 percent in the entire state. Veterans make up 6.6 percent of the population in Mingo County.


Mingo County, between 2004 and 2008, according to the DHHR, ranks poorly when it comes to health conditions. State rankings are based on 36 geographical entities, including 12 groups of counties and 24 stand-alone counties. The highest rank is 1, the lowest is 36. The rankings are as follows:


Fair or poor health, 37.4 percent, rank 3; No health insurance (ages 18-64), 19.5 percent, rank 27; No leisure exercise, 40.5 percent, rank 3; Obesity, 37 percent, rank 4; Diabetes, 12.9 percent, rank 7; Hypertension, 41.8 percent, rank 2; High cholesterol, 39.7 percent, 21 percent; Heart attack, angina or stroke, 19.7 percent, rank 1; Current asthma, 14.8 percent, rank 3; Arthritis, 43.5 percent, rank 2.


With the same ranking system and years, Mingo Country ranked third in cigarette smoking, at 35.8 percent of the population. The county’s ranking was far better in smokeless tobacco use (5.3 percent) and binge drinking (6.9 percent), ranks 31 and 27 respectively.


Between 2006 and 2008, 33.6 percent of Mingo Countians ages 12 and older said they had drank alcohol in the past month, slightly below the state average of 38.4 percent; the county was also below the state’s average on binge drinking within the same time-frame and age group, 19.7 percent, coming in at 17 percent. For people between 12 and 20-years-old, 21 percent said they used alcohol in the past month and 13 percent said they had participated in binge drinking, below both state averages of 25.2 and 17.9 percent respectively.


Staying on the alcohol trail 45 people were arrested in Mingo County for DUI in 2008, a total of 6,886 across the state. In 2009, the number increased to 67 but the state number decreased to 6,622. Both numbers dropped in 2010: 43 for Mingo County and 6,154 for the state.


According to the DHHR, of fatal accident crashes between 2005 and 2009, where people killed in motor vehicle accidents in which the driver had a blood alcohol content of 0.01 percent or higher, Mingo County did not fare well until the very end:


In 2005, 14 percent of fatal accidents placed the driver with an increased BAC, across the state it was 31 percent; In 2006, that number skyrocketed to 44 percent, but the state average remained at 31; In 2007, Mingo County dropped its percentage to 25, while the state’s grew to 39 percent; However, in 2008, Mingo County’s percentage increased again to 33, but the state’s dropped to 37; Lastly, in 2009, not a single fatal accident was reported in Mingo County due to alcohol, zero percent, the state’s percentage grew to 38.


Moving onto tobacco, for people 12 and older, 30.7 percent of them said that within the past month between 2006 and 2008 said they had smoked cigarettes, above the state average at 30.4 percent. A total of 38.7 percent of Mingo Countians also said they used other various tobacco products within the same time-frame, versus 37.6 percent for the state.


A total of 67.6 percent of Mingo Countians said they had perceptions of great risk of smoking one or more packs of cigarettes per day, nearly matching the state average of 68.2 percent.


However, a risk may exist despite nearly a third of population not acknowledging it. In 2009, the selected causes of death attributable to smoking, were higher than the state’s average: For every 10,000, 12.5 of them were from lung/bronchus/trachea cancer, 8.6 for West Virginia as a whole; 11.8 for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, 8.3 for the state; Major cardiovascular disease, 43.2 versus 36.5 for the state.


Next, the county’s drug statistics. Between 2006 and 2008, a small amount of Mingo Countians ages 12 and older said that they had used drugs in the past month, 6.7 percent. The state answered at 7.7 percent. When asked for drug use other than marijuana, 4 percent said yes for Mingo County, 4.3 percent for the state.


In the past year, however, 9.2 percent of Mingo Countians said they had used marijuana; 2.6 percent said cocaine; and 5.5 percent said pain relievers, with all percentages being much higher than the rest of West Virginia: 7.9, 2.2 and 4.8 percents respectively.


Drug overdose deaths between 2001 and 2010 have also increased in both Mingo County and across the state. In 2001 and 2002, nine deaths were attributed to overdose in Mingo COunty. That number grew to 15 in 2003-2004; grew further to 24 in 2005-2006; peaked at 26 in 2007-2008; and declined to 25 in 2009-2010. The number across the state has continue to increase each year, beginning at 388 deaths in 2001 and peaking at 989 in 2010.


Statistics for other behavioral health factors besides substances were also released by the DHHR, such as homelessness. In Mingo County, 52 people were literally homeless in 2011, while 164 were imminently losing their housing. Of those homeless people, zero percent abused alcohol or both alcohol and drugs, but fewer than five people abused drugs. Seven homeless people had poor mental health.


For domestic violence, in 2010, 18 people were sheltered through the West Virginia Coalition against Domestic Violence, while 428 were non-sheltered. Of those survivors, 30 of them were identified as having a mental disability and fewer than five were referred to a mental health provider. Substance abuse was identified as contributing to the physical abuse in 66 (more than 25 percent) of the abusers. None of them were referred to a mental health provider.


For depression, 13.7 percent of Mingo Countians 12 and older between 2006 and 2008 had serious psychological distress in the past year. The state had an average of 12.3 percent.


Mingo County, however, ranked very well in its suicide death statistics between 2008a nd 2009. The number of suicides in Mingo County was 32, versus 2,810 for the state. The county ranked 51st in the entire state by suicide prevalence.


To view the statistics for each county in West Virginia, visit http://www.dhhr.wv.gov/bhhf/sections/programs/ProgramsPartnerships/AlcoholismandDrugAbuse/Research/Pages/CountyProfiles.aspx.





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