Revised March 2019
Opioid-Involved Overdose Deaths
In 2017, there were 578 overdose deaths involving opioids in Colorado—a rate of 10.0 deaths per 100,000 persons compared to the average national rate of 14.6 deaths per 100,000 persons. The greatest rise occured among heroin-involved deaths, with a nearly fivefold increase from 46 cases in 2010 to 224 cases in 2017 (Figure 1). In the same period, deaths involving synthetic opioids other than methadone (mainly fentanyl) doubled from 58 to 112 cases and prescription opioid-involved deaths nearly doubled from 176 to 300 cases.
Opioid Pain Reliever Prescriptions
In 2017, Colorado providers wrote 52.9 opioid prescriptions for every 100 persons (Figure 2). The average U.S. rate in the same year was 58.7 prescriptions per 100 persons (CDC).
The rate of overdose deaths involving opioid prescriptions rose from 3.4 deaths per 100,000 persons in 2010 to 5.1 deaths per 100,000 persons in 2017.
Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS)
NAS or neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome (NOWS) may occur when a pregnant woman uses drugs such as opioids during pregnancy. A recent national study revealed a fivefold increase in the incidence of NAS/NOWS between 2004 and 2014, from 1.5 cases per 1,000 hospital births to 8.0 cases per 1,000 hospital births. This is the equivalent of one baby born with symptoms of NAS/NOWS every 15 minutes in the United States. During the same period, hospital costs for NAS/NOWS births increased from $91 million to $563 million, after adjusting for inflation (Figure 3).
To date, there is no standard in NAS/NOWS provider and hospital coding practices (CDC). As a result, there is variability in trends and in the rate reported by states. The most recent data on the rate of babies born with NAS/NOWS in Colorado is from 2016 hospital discharge data. From 2011 to 2016, the rate of NAS/NOWS increased 69 percent from 2.6 cases per 1,000 hospital births to 4.4 cases per 1,000 hospital births (Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment).
HIV Prevalence and HIV Diagnoses Attributed to Injection Drug Use (IDU)
- U.S. Incidence: In 2016, 9 percent (3,480) of the 39,589 new diagnoses of HIV in the United States were attributed to IDU. Among males, 6.3 percent (2,530) of new cases were transmitted via IDU or male-to-male contact and IDU. Among females, 2.3 percent (950) were transmitted via IDU (CDC).
- U.S. Prevalence: In 2016, 991,447 Americans were living with a diagnosed HIV infection—a rate of 306.6 cases per 100,000 persons. Among males, 19.9 percent (150,4661) contracted HIV from IDU or male-to-male contact and IDU while 21 percent (50,154) of females were living with HIV attributed to IDU (CDC).
- State Incidence: Of the new HIV cases in 2016, 423 occurred in Colorado. Among males, 17.2 percent of new HIV cases were attributed to IDU or male-to-male contact and IDU. Among females, 24 percent of new HIV cases were attributed to IDU (Figure 4) (AIDSVu).
- State Prevalence: In 2015, an estimated 11,519 persons were living with a diagnosed HIV infection in Colorado—a rate of 253 cases per 100,000 persons. Of those, 17.5 percent of cases among males were attributed to IDU or male-to-male contact and IDU. Among females, 24.1 percent were living with HIV attributed to IDU (AIDSVu).
Hepatitis C (HCV) Prevalence and HCV Diagnoses Attributed to Injection Drug Use1
- U.S. Incidence: In 2016, there were an estimated 41,200 new cases of acute HCV2 (CDC). Among case reports that contain information about IDU, 68.6 percent indicated use of injection drugs (CDC).
- U.S. Prevalence: An estimated 2.4 million Americans are living with HCV based on 2013-2016 annual averages (CDC).
- State Incidence: There were approximately 35 new cases of acute HCV (0.6 per 100,000 persons) reported in Colorado in 2016 (CDC).
- State Prevalence: In Colorado, there are an estimated 36,800 persons living with Hepatitis C (2013-2016 annual average), a rate of 900 cases per 100,000 persons (HepVu).
- Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Prescription Drug Overdose Prevention
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Opioid Overdose
- Not all states collect or report data on the incidence or prevalence of Hepatitis C or on how Hepatitis C is transmitted. When available, the data will be included.
- Actual acute cases estimated to be 13.9 times the number of reported cases in any year.
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Cite this article
NIDA. (2019, March 30). Colorado Opioid Summary. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/opioids/opioid-summaries-by-state/colorado-opioid-summary
NIH HEAL (Helping to End Addiction Long-term) Initiative
New Opioid Overdose Materials for Patients
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