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Dakotas have lowest overdose mortality rates

With this past weekend's death of actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman's death due to a drug overdose, a national health advocacy group says more needs to be done to prevent such deaths.

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Trust for America's Health notes that the Dakotas have the lowest mortality rates in the nation due to drug overdoses. North Dakota ranks 51st with 3.4 overdose deaths per 100,000 population and South Dakota ranks 50th with 6.3 deaths per 100,000. Washington, D.C. is also considered.

While those numbers are good news, South Dakota ranks low in prevention, according to TFAH, because it does not have "Good Samaritan" or "Rescue Drug" laws or several other overdose prevention policies or programs. North Dakota rated somewhat better.

According to TFAH, South Dakota only had two of 10 suggested policies for overdose prevention, the fewest of any state. North Dakota had six of the 10 suggested policies or programs.

According to TFAH, drug overdose deaths now exceed motor vehicle-related deaths in 29 states. Drug overdose deaths nationally have doubled since 1999.