Date of Award


Degree Name

Healthcare Administration


College of Business

Type of Degree


Document Type

Research Paper

First Advisor

Alberto Coustasse


The opioid epidemic began in the 1990s with an increased prescribing of opioids across the nation. Between the years 2013 and 2014, opioid overdose death rates began to increase in West Virginia. By the year 2015, West Virginia held the highest number of opioid overdose death rates in the country. In 2021, fatal overdoses claimed more than 1,417 lives in West Virginia and of those 1,417, an estimated 1,201 of them were due to opioid use.

West Virginia had the highest opioid drug overdose rate in the nation and one of the highest incarceration rates for opioid-dependent individuals. West Virginia had a recidivism rate of 24% at the beginning of 2023. In addition to that, an estimated 58% of people in state prison and 63% of people sentenced to a local jail suffer from drug dependency or abuse.

The purpose of this research is to determine if the opioid epidemic influenced the recidivism rates in West Virginia. The working hypothesis was that the opioid epidemic caused an increase in recidivism rates in West Virginia.

The intended methodology for this research was a qualitative literature review, involving articles related to incarcerated inmates and the opioid epidemic. In addition to an IRB approved structured interview.

The results of this study found that recidivism rates were affected by more than just the opioid epidemic and the opioid epidemic was just a by-product of a much larger issue found in West Virginia.


Health services administration.

Health facilities – Business management.

Opioid abuse – West Virginia – Research.