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Tennessee Opioid Summary

Revised February 2018

Opioid-Related Overdose Deaths

In 2016, there were 1,186 opioid-related overdose deaths­­­ in Tennessee—a rate of 18.1 deaths per 100,000 persons—higher than the national rate of 13.3 deaths per 100,000 persons. Deaths from heroin overdose have increased since 2010 from 17 to 260 deaths. Deaths from synthetic and prescription opioids have also increased, from 72 to 395 deaths and from 516 to 739 deaths, respectively.

This graph shows the rate of opioid-related overdose deaths in Tennessee compared to the United States from 1999-2016. In 2016, the opioid overdose death rate was 18.1 deaths per 100,000 persons in Tennessee, versus 13.3 deaths per 100,000 persons in the United States.

Opioid Pain Reliever Prescriptions

In 2015, Tennessee providers wrote 118.3 opioid prescriptions per 100 persons (7.8 million prescriptions). In the same year, the average U.S. rate was 70 opioid prescriptions per 100 persons (IMS Health, 2016).

This graph shows the number of opioid-related overdose deaths in Tennessee from 1999-2016. In 2016, there were 1,186 opioid-related overdose deaths: 395 involved synthetic opioids, 260 involved heroin, and 739 involved prescription opioids. Categories are not mutually exclusive because deaths may involve more than one drug.

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS)

A CDC study analyzing 2013 NAS data available across 28 states estimated the national average NAS rate at 0.6 percent of live births (CDC, MMWR, 2014).

The percentage of live birth NAS cases in Tennessee in 2015 was 1.29 percent in 2015 (n=1,039) (TN.gov). Rates of NAS in Tennessee varied by health department region with rates lowest in West Tennessee and increasing in an easterly fashion.

This map shows the rate of change in NAS cases by county in Tennessee.

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, 712 occurred in Tennessee, with 5.0 percent1 of new cases in males and 9.0 percent of new cases in females attributed to IDU (AIDSVu).
  • State Prevalence: In 2014, an estimated 16,163 persons were living with a diagnosed HIV infection in Tennessee—a rate of 295 infections per 100,000 persons. Of these, 11.6 percent1 of males and 13.9 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, Tennessee reported 2,251 cases of chronic HCV (CDC) and 173 cases of acute HCV (TN.gov).
  • State Prevalence: Current state prevalence data are not available. As of 2010, an estimated 122,500 persons (2,530 cases per 100,000) were living with HCV in Tennessee (HepVu).

Additional Resources

NIH RePORTER FY2017 NIH-funded projects related to opioid use and use disorder in Tennessee: 0

Notes

  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

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