En español

Illinois Opioid Summary

Revised February 2018

Opioid-Related Overdose Deaths

Opioid-related overdose deaths in Illinois have increased proportionately with national rates. From 1999 to 2016, the rate increased from 3.9 to 15.3 deaths per 100,000 persons—equivalent to 483 and 1,947 annual deaths statewide. The number of heroin-related deaths nearly quadrupled from 269 deaths in 2012 to 1040 deaths in 2016. Overdose deaths attributed to synthetic opiods also increased dramatically during the same period from 84 to 907 deaths (CDC WONDER).

This graph shows the rate of opioid-related overdose deaths in Illinois compared to the United States from 1999-2016. In 2016, the opioid overdose death rate was 15.3 deaths per 100,000 persons in Alabama, versus 13.3 deaths per 100,000 persons in the United States.

Opioid Pain Reliever Prescriptions

In 2015, 8 million opioid prescriptions were filled in Illinois (60 opioid prescriptions per 100 persons)—down 10 percent compared to 2013 and less than the national rate of 70 opioid prescriptions per 100 persons (IMS Health, 2016).

This graph shows the number of opioid-related overdose deaths in Illinois from 1999-2016. In 2016, there were 1,947 opioid-related overdose deaths: 907 involved synthetic opioids, 1,040 involved heroin, and 479 involved prescription opioids. Categories are not mutually exclusive because deaths may involve more than one drug.

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS)

In 2015, the rate of NAS in Illinois was an estimated 2.5 NAS cases per 1,000 live births, affecting 373 newborn infants born in Illinois that year. There was a 42 percent increase in the NAS rate between 2011 and 2015 in Illinois.

The rise in NAS rates varies across the state. Between 2011 and 2015, NAS rates increased by 62 percent in the collar counties (the five counties that border Chicago's Cook County), 69 percent in urban counties outside the Chicago area, and 212 percent in rural counties. In comparison, there was a 23 percent decline in NAS rates in Chicago and 8 percent increase in NAS rates in suburban Cook County (Chicago’s county) during this time-period (IL Dept. of Public Health).

This graph shows the rate of NAS per 1,000 births in Illinois in 2015. The highest rates were in Non-Hispanic White babies, babies born to mothers on public insurance, and babies born in urban and rural counties.

HIV Prevalence and HIV Diagnoses Attributed to Injection Drug Use (IDU)

  • U.S. Incidence: In 2015, 9.1 percent (3,5941) of the 39,513 new diagnoses of HIV in the United States were attributed to IDU. Among new cases, 8.2 percent (2,6141) of cases among men and 13.2 percent (980) of cases among women were transmitted via IDU (CDC).
  • U.S. Prevalence: In 2014, 955,081 Americans were living with a diagnosed HIV infection—a rate of 299.5 per 100,000 persons. Of these, 18.1 percent (131,0561) of males and 22.6 percent (52,013) of females were living with HIV attributed to IDU (CDC).
  • State Incidence: Of the new HIV cases in 2015, 1,472 occurred in Illinois, with 5.0 percent1 of new cases in males and 12.0 percent of new cases in females attributed to IDU (AIDSVu).
  • State Prevalence: In 2014, an estimated 34,843 persons were living with a diagnosed HIV infection in Illinois—a rate of 324 per 100,000 persons. Of these, 17.1 percent1 of males and 25.0 percent of females were living with HIV attributed to IDU (AIDSVu).  

Hepatitis C (HCV) Prevalence and HCV Diagnoses Attributed to Injection Drug Use

  • U.S. Incidence: In 2015, there were 181,871 reported cases of chronic HCV and 33,900 estimated cases of acute HCV2 (CDC). Where data were available, 64.2 percent of acute cases reported IDU (CDC).
  • U.S. Prevalence: An estimated 3.5 million Americans are living with HCV, including approximately 2.7 million living with chronic infections (CDC).
  • State Incidence: In 2015, Illinois reported 8,696 cases of chronic HCV and 31 cases of acute HCV (0.2 cases per 100,000 persons) (CDC).
  • State Prevalence: Current state prevalence data are not available. As of 2010, an estimated 68,400 (710 cases per 100,000) persons were living with HCV in Illinois (HepVu).

The National Institute of Health Funds Center of Excellence in Pain Education

This is the logo for the NIH Pain Consortium: Centers of Excellence in Pain Education.

Illinois is home to one of the eleven Centers of Excellence in Pain Education (CoEPEs): The Southern Illinois University Edwardsville/St. Louis University Center of Excellence in Pain Education. The CoEPEs act as hubs for the development, evaluation, and distribution of pain management curriculum resources for medical, dental, nursing, pharmacy and other schools to improve how health care professionals are taught about pain and its treatment.

Additional Resources

NIH RePORTER FY2017 NIH-funded projects related to opioid use and use disorder in Illinois: 7


  1. Includes transmission to individuals with injection drug use as a risk factor.
  2. 2015 estimate after adjusting for under-ascertainment and under-reporting. Data for 2015 were unavailable for Alaska, Arizona, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Iowa, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Wyoming.

This page was last updated February 2018

Get this Publication

Opioid Summaries by State

NIH HEAL (Helping to End Addiction Long-term) Initiative

New Opioid Overdose Materials for Patients

Easy-to-read Drug Facts

This Is NIDA: Opioids

This Is NIDA: Opioids

The National Institute on Drug Abuse's research-based, informative video series "This Is NIDA," addresses the topic of OPIOIDS.