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Provisional Counts of Drug Overdose Deaths by State – August 2017

Posted on Oct 9, 2017 by Jim Peake

Provisional Counts Of Drug Overdose Deaths By State August 2017 - Addiction-Rep

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recently released its provisional counts for drug overdose deaths in the United States for August 2017. While it is well known that deaths due to drug overdose have increased in the past few years across the country, this latest set of data really puts the immense scale of the problem into perspective.

The latest statistics on drug overdose deaths show, without a doubt, that the problem is continuing to get worse – not better. In fact, only three states are reporting lower overdose deaths in 2017 over the previous year: Washington State, Nebraska and Wyoming.

Understanding the Statistical Data on Drug Overdose Deaths in the United States in 2017

In the Provisional Counts of Drug Overdoses Deaths (as of Aug. 6, 2017) report, the data shows an increase in overdose deaths from January of 2016 to January of 2017 from 22 reporting jurisdictions (states). The data quality is rated at 99 to 100 percent complete, but due to the fact some of the cases involved may be pending investigation, the data sets cannot be established as 100 percent complete.

As the CDC states:

“Provisional counts should be interpreted with caution and in the context of the data quality. Percent Complete indicates the percentage of death records available for analysis.”

12 Month Ending Drug Overdose Deaths Statistics Infographic - CDC

For the use of representing the trend of drug overdose deaths in the United States as of January 2017, and for the use as a resource for addiction treatment professionals, the data should be considered the most accurate numbers for 2017 that have been produced from a federal institution as of this date. The full document can be viewed below:

Provisional Counts of Drug Overdose Deaths by State

Highlights of the Drug Overdose Statistics as of January 2017

Without even delving that deeply into the full document, there are quite a few highlights that paint a clear picture as to the scale of the overdose deaths in the United States. Let’s highlight some of these findings below:

Most States Are Seeing an Increase in Overdose Deaths:

Some of the highest increases in overdose deaths were seen in states that are to be expected (due to much media attention warning that the problem was growing). However, a few states had increases that were a bit surprising.

  • Delaware – Delaware saw an increase in overdose deaths of a whopping 71% from January 2016 to January 2017 – the highest percent increase of all of the reporting states. While the overall number of deaths in Delaware is significantly lower than in other states (309 deaths), the large increase in percentage shows that drug abuse and overdoses are growing in a state that once saw itself immune to large-scale drug problems.
  • Maryland – The epidemic of heroin in the city of Baltimore and the Greater Maryland area ensured that there would be an increase in drug overdose deaths by the beginning of 2017, but at an increase of 67% and 1,566 deaths, the official count is shocking.
  • Iowa – A surprising increase came from the State of Iowa. The state saw 303 deaths due to drugs in the 2015 reporting year, and 324 deaths in 2016  – a 7% increase.
  • Florida – With so many drug rehabs and addiction treatment centers in Florida, it would seem that Florida should be reporting lower drug overdose deaths in the past year. But at 5,167 deaths, Florida reported the highest number of deaths due to drugs of any state included in the report. Worse yet, this is an increase of 55% from the previous year
  • Washington State – This surprise is a slightly positive one. While many were expecting the death rate to rise in Washington (a state that has had many problems with heroin in particular for decades), the number of overdose deaths dipped slightly: a drop of 3%. Though this still amounts to 1,102 souls lost to drugs, it hints that the state and its citizens maybe trending toward positive long-term numbers. Again, it is important to note that Washington was one of only three states to show a decrease in deaths. The other two states are much less populous – Nebraska and Wyoming.
  • Alaska – While Alaska had a 0% change in the number of drug-related deaths in the past year (126 deaths in both 2015 and 2016), what is troubling is the increase in the type of drugs attributed to these deaths. While the number of deaths from natural and semi-synthetic opioids including prescription painkillers dropped from 60 deaths to 40 deaths, the fatalities attributed to heroin in the State of Alaska increased from 35 to 50 deaths year over year.
  • New York City – While much of the country has focused its addiction treatment concerns toward the opioid epidemic, prescription painkillers and heroin, the statistics from New York City remind us that other substances are still causing overdoses and killing individuals. Cocaine caused 595 deaths in New York City as of January 2017 – an increase of 29% over the previous year.

Using the Drug Overdose Death Statistics as a Resource for Addiction Treatment

Data is a powerful tool, and these recent statistics on how drugs are impacting lives and families in the U.S. can be used as a resource to make a positive impact on lives amid the growing epidemic of drug abuse, overdose and deaths.

Quite often in the addiction treatment space, it is a visual representation such as this that can show the reality of substance abuse, and its eventual end. With a drug like heroin, especially, it is essential to see the impact and the real numbers of deaths that the drug causes.

While the numbers may seem a bit grim, there is always hope that an individual will find the courage to fight his or her addiction within these staggering numbers.

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