5 prescription drug overdose stats

July 6, 2015

A surprising 50 percent of U.S. drug overdoses are caused by prescription drugs – 22,000 annually – according to a new report, The Facts Hurt: A State-By-State Injury Prevention Policy.

A surprising 50% of US drug overdoses are caused by prescription drugs-22,000 annually-according to a new report, The Facts Hurt: A State-By-State Injury Prevention Policy.

Related: WHO expands naloxone access to help manage opioid overdoses

The new report from the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) also showed that:

  • Drug overdoses are the leading cause of injury deaths in the United States and that figure has doubled to 44,000 annually over the past 14 years.

  • West Virginia has the highest number of drug overdose deaths (33.5 per 100,000 people), accounting for more than one-third of the state’s overall injury deaths.

  • Drug overdoses deaths are lowest in North Dakota, at 2.6 per 100,000 people. 

  • While every state except Missouri has some form of Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) in place to help reduce doctor shopping and mis-prescribing, only half of the states require mandatory use by healthcare providers in at least some circumstances.

  • Thirty-four states and Washington, D.C. have “rescue drug” laws in place to expand access to, and use of naloxone-a prescription drug that can be effective in counteracting an overdose-by lay administrators

Related: Florida passes nalxone law

“Injuries are not just acts of fate. Research shows they are pretty predictable and preventable,” said Jeffrey Levi, PhD, executive director of TFAH. “This report illustrates how evidence-based strategies can actually help prevent and reduce motor vehicle crashes, head injuries, fires, falls, homicide, suicide, assaults, sexual violence, child abuse, drug misuse, overdoses and more.”

Related: FDA: final guidance on evaluation, labeling of abuse-deterrent opioids