Drug poisoning deaths involving opioid analgesics have steadied in recent years, but the rate of deaths involving heroin has almost tripled since 2010, according to a recent Nation Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) data brief.

The NCHS data brief evaluated data from the National Vital Statistics System to identify trends and demographics for heroin-related drug poisoning deaths from 2000–2013. Key findings include:

  • From 2000–2013, the age-adjusted rate for drug poisoning deaths involving heroin nearly quadrupled from 0.7 deaths per 100,000 in 2000 to 2.7 deaths per 100,000 in 2013; most of the increase occurred after 2010.
  • The number of drug poisoning deaths involving heroin was nearly 4 times higher for men (6,525 deaths) than women (1,732 deaths) in 2013.
  • In 2000, non-Hispanic black persons aged 45–64 had the highest rate for drug poisoning deaths involving heroin (2.0 per 100,000). In 2013, non-Hispanic white persons aged 18–44 had the highest rate (7.0 per 100,000).
  • From 2000–2013, the age-adjusted rate for drug poisoning deaths involving heroin increased for all regions of the country, with the greatest increase seen in the Midwest.

Overall, the rates for death involving a heroin overdose have increased for all age, race, and ethnicity groups since 2000. From 2000–2013, the age-adjusted rate showed a 6% yearly increase from 2000–2010, followed by a 37% yearly increase from 2010–2013. The study authors note that identifying high-risk populations of heroin-related drug poisoning death can help target prevention strategies.

For more information visit CDC.gov.


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