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OPIOIDS: US fentanyl overdose deaths total 18,335 in 2016

The number of drug overdose deaths involving the synthetic opioid fentanyl has skyrocketed in the six years covered in this federal government report.  Here are the year-by-year counts:

  •   1,663 (2011)
  •   1,615 (2012)
  •   1,919 (2013)
  •   4,223 (2014)
  •   8,251 (2015)
  • 18,335 (2016)

In the most recent year, 2016, the geographic region with the highest number of fentanyl overdose deaths was the Midwest, followed by the MidAtlantic states.

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, National Vital Statistics System. (2019, March 21, rev. April 3). Drug overdose deaths involving fentanyl, 2011-2016. National Vital Statistics Reports, 68(3), 1-18.  Click here for full text:  https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr68/nvsr68_03-508.pdf  Posted by AHA Resource Center (312) 422-2050, rc@aha.org

OPIOIDS: Drug overdose death rate doubles 2015 to 2016

These data on death rates from overdoses involving synthetic opioids other than methadone are drawn from the National Vital Statistics System, which is maintained by the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).  This includes fentanyl, fentanyl analogs and tramadol.

Synthetic Opioid Drug Overdose Death Rate (per 100,000 population)

  • 0.3  1999
  • 1.0  2013
  • 1.8  2014
  • 3.1  2015
  • 6.2 in 2016

Looking at the broader picture of drug overdose deaths from drugs of all types, the states with the highest overdose death rates in 2016 were: West Virginia, Ohio, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania.

Source: Hedegaard, H., Warner, M., and Minino, A.M. (2017, December). Drug overdose deaths in the United States, 1999-2016. NCHS Data Brief, 294.  Click herefor free full text: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db294.pdf  Posted by AHA Resource Center (312) 422-2050, rc@aha.org

OPIOIDS: Prescribing guidelines found helpful in Ohio

…our analysis demonstrates that emergency physician opioid prescribing guidelines were associated with a decrease in the quantity of opioid prescriptions written by emergency physicians.”

In the two years before opioid prescribing guidelines were implemented in Ohio, emergency physicians were writing over 660,000 opioid prescriptions each year – of which roughly one-third of the prescriptions were for more than 3 days.  In 2012, statewide guidelines were issued.  By 2014, the most recent year studied, the total opioid prescriptions written by ED physicians had dropped to a little over 410,000.  Still about one-third were for more than 3 day prescriptions.

Source: Weiner, S.G., Baker, O., Poon, S.J., and others. (2017, December). The effect of opioid prescribing guidelines on prescriptions by emergency physicians in Ohio. Annals of Emergency Medicine, 70(6), 799-808.  Click here to purchased full text: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0196064417303530  Posted by AHA Resource Center (312) 422-2050 rc@aha.org