Drug overdose and opioid misuse is a serious public health crisis in the United States. This epidemic includes the use of heroin, prescription opioids, and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl.
Drug overdose deaths from prescription and illicit opioids have sharply increased since 1999. Over 300,000 people have died from them nationwide in the last 15 years. That's about 55 people per day.
Washington experienced a similar trend. 17,502 Washington residents died from a drug overdose over the past 15 years (between 2007 and 2021). 68% of those deaths involved an opioid. Since 2019 the annual number of opioid drug overdose deaths has nearly doubled, from 827 deaths in 2019 to 1619 in 2021.
Evidence suggests that widespread prescription opioid exposure and increasing rates of opioid abuse have contributed the growth of heroin use. The amount of opioids prescribed and sold in the United States nearly quadrupled from 1999 to 2014. But, there was not an overall change in the amount of pain that Americans report.
Why is opioid overdose and prescription data important?
Community members and organizations across Washington State are working to reduce overdoses. We can make better plans for how to reduce overdoses if we understand who is most affected by opioids. Drug overdose and opioid prescription data help us see trends and differences between demographic groups.
View the Data
The dashboards show data on drug overdose deaths, hospitalizations, and opioid prescriptions dispensed in Washington State. You can see the data at the state, county and Accountable Communities of Health (ACH) levels.
SUDORS is the State Unintentional Drug Overdose Reporting System, developed by the CDC for states to collect overdose death information. The data are used to better understand circumstances surrounding the incident, and the type and origin of drugs involved. SUDORS links data from Coroner and Medical Examiner reports, toxicology, autopsy, and when possible, prescription drug monitoring program data.
Together, these dashboards tell a story of drug overdoses and opioid prescriptions in Washington State. You can see how the impact has changed over time, across age groups and race, and by geography.
The Department of Health is combating this issue, including involvement in a statewide opioid response plan. The Department of Health's plan involvement includes using data to detect opioid misuse and abuse, monitoring mortality and morbidity, and evaluating interventions. Access to opioid data on WTN is part of that response plan. Read more on the opioids page.
For information or questions related to the Washington Tracking Network, email DOH.WTN@doh.wa.gov.
Let Us Know How You Used the Data
We love hearing about how our data is being used to make an impact on the health of Washingtonians. It also helps us to know what is meeting our users’ needs and how we can improve the information we provide. If you used our data, please tell us about it by sending an email to DOH.WTN@doh.wa.gov.
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