Pennsylvania has the 14th highest drug overdose mortality rate in the country. This corresponds to 15.3 per 100,000 people suffering drug overdose fatalities. The number of overdose deaths, a majority from prescription drugs, in Pennsylvania has increased nearly 90% over the last 15 years. These troubling statistics plague our commonwealth as we are faced with this great challenge.
Unfortunately, the opioid crisis in Pennsylvania is just as bad if not worse than the state of the nation as a whole. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the opioid-related overdose rate in the United States is 13.3 deaths per 100,000 people, but in Pennsylvania the opioid overdose rate is 18.5 deaths per 100,000 people.
These numbers show that Pennsylvania opioid abuse has led to the state having a higher number of overdose deaths because of opioids than the national average. Prescription opioids play a starring role here. Another source found that from January 1, 2018 to June 8, 2019, there were 13,499 emergency room visits from opioid overdoses in the state of Pennsylvania. These numbers equate to almost 800 people a month dying from opioid overdoses.
In 2016, 4,642 drug-related overdose deaths were reported by Pennsylvania coroners and medical examiners, an increase of 37 percent from 2015. In 2016, approximately 13 people died of a drug-related overdose each day.
The Pennsylvania drug-related overdose death rate in 2016 was 36.5 per 100,000 people, an increase from 26.7 per 100,000 people in 2015. The national drug overdose death rate in 2015 was 16.3 per 100,000.
The presence of an opioid, illicit or prescribed by a doctor, was identified in 85 percent of drug-related overdose deaths in Pennsylvania in 2016.Fentanyl and Fentanyl-related substances(FRS) were the most frequently identified in decedents (52 percent of deaths), a significant increase from 2015 when Fentanyl/FRS were noted in 27 percent of deaths.
The percent increase in drug-related overdose deaths between 2015 and 2016 was larger in rural counties (42 percent) compared to urban counties (34 percent), an unusual trend, at least going by data sets from other states.
In 2016, 70 percent of drug-related overdose decedents were male, consistent with 2015, but not consistent with the population distribution across Pennsylvania.
Males were more likely to die from a Fentanyl and/or heroin overdose compared to females. Females were more likely to have alprazolam, clonazepam, and/or oxycodone present in overdose deaths, while males were more likely to have Fentanyl, heroin, cocaine, and/or ethanol present in overdose deaths.
More than 95 percent of counties reporting drug-related overdose deaths in 2016 indicated the presence of Fentanyl.
In 2017, Pennsylvania providers wrote 57.7 opioid prescriptions for every 100 persons compared to the average U.S. rate of 58.7 prescriptions (CDC). This represents more than a 30 percent decrease from a peak of 83.3 opioid prescriptions per 100 persons in 2012.
In the year 2017, there were more than 70,200 drug overdose deaths in the U.S. - an age-adjusted rate of 21.7 per 100,000 persons. Among these, 47,600 involved opioids. The sharpest increase occurred among deaths involving Fentanyl and Fentanyl analogs (other synthetic narcotics) with more than 28,400 overdose deaths in 2017.
The age-adjusted rate of drug overdose deaths increased significantly in Pennsylvania by 16.9 percent from 2016 (37.9 per 100,000) to 2017 (44.3 per 100,000). While the majority of drug overdose deaths in 2017 involved an opioid, overdose deaths involving opioids are not included for the state because the data reported did not meet inclusion criteria.
NAS or neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome (NOWS) may occur when a pregnant woman uses drugs such as opioids during pregnancy.The number of NAS/NOWS cases in Pennsylvania totaled 1,912 in 2017. The rate of NAS/NOWS rose from 1.2 cases per 1,000 hospital births in combined fiscal year's 2000-2001 to 15.0 cases per 1,000 hospital births in combined fiscal year's 2016-2017.
Of the new HIV cases in 2016, 1,150 of them occurred in Pennsylvania. Among males, 9.1 percent of new HIV cases were attributed to opioid and prescription opioid abuse or male-to-male contact and opioid abuse. Among females, 11.9 percent of new HIV cases were attributed to opioid abuse. In 2015, an estimated 34,233 persons were living with a diagnosed HIV infection in Pennsylvania —a rate of 314 cases per 100,000 persons. Of those, 25.5 percent of male cases were attributed to opioid abuse or male-to-male contact and opioid abuse. Among females, 26.7 percent were living with HIV attributed to opioid abuse.
There were approximately 225 new cases of acute HCV (1.8 per 100,000 persons) reported in Pennsylvania in 2016 (per the CDC). In Pennsylvania, there are an estimated 95,100 persons living with Hepatitis C (2013-2016 annual average), a rate of 950 cases per 100,000 persons. A huge amount of these are traceable to opioid and prescription opioid abuse.
Owing to the heavy struggles Pennsylvania has had with prescription drug abuse, there are numerous centers of treatment and rehab in place all over the state. There are many types of treatment centers such as long term addiction treatment facilities, short term drug abuse treatment, outpatient detoxification programs, outpatient substance abuse treatment services, inpatient drug abuse treatment and others.
There is a wide range of drug and alcohol rehab facilities available. They include individual psychotherapy, dialectical behavior therapy, couple/family therapy, trauma therapy, trauma-related counseling, cognitive/behavior therapy and others, to name a few. If you need rehab in Pennsylvania, all you need to do is place a call to any of the available rehab centers.
If you are addicted to alcohol or drugs, it is imperative that you look for professional help as soon as you possibly can. However, you might not know where to start or the options that are open to you. Similarly, you may have little to no idea about the differences between the different treatment facilities and the programs they have in store for their patients.
Do you need help finding the right drug or alcohol rehab facility in your area?
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