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Washington D.C. Opioid Summary

Revised February 2018

Opioid-Related Overdose Deaths

Washington, D.C. has one of the highest rates in the United States. In 2016, there were 209 opioid-related overdose deaths­­­ in Washington, D.C.—a rate of 30 deaths per 100,000 persons and more than the national rate of 13.3 deaths per 100,000 persons. Deaths related to synthetic opioids have been reported since 2013 and increased in the past three years from 13 to 129 deaths. Since 2010, the number of heroin-related deaths increased from 16 to 67 deaths and deaths related to Rx opioids rose from 13 to 66 deaths.

This graph shows the rate of opioid-related overdose deaths in Washington, D.C. compared to the United States from 1999-2016. In 2016, the opioid overdose death rate was 30 deaths per 100,000 persons in Washington, D.C., versus 13.3 deaths per 100,000 persons in the United States.

Opioid Pain Reliever Prescriptions

In 2015, Washington, D.C. providers wrote 70.0 opioid prescriptions per 100 persons (463,000 prescriptions)–the same as the national rate (IMS Health, 2016).  

This graph shows the number of opioid-related overdose deaths in Washington, D.C. from 1999-2016. In 2016, there were 209 opioid-related overdose deaths: 129 involved synthetic opioids, 122 involved heroin, and 66 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). Data for NAS rates in Washington, D.C. are unavailable.

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).
  • District Incidence: Of the new HIV cases in 2015, 383 occurred in Washington, D.C., with 7.2 percent1 of new cases in males and 17.1 percent of new cases in females attributed to IDU (AIDSVu).
  • District Prevalence: In 2014, an estimated 15,200 persons were living with a diagnosed HIV infection in Washington D.C.—a rate of 2,665 infections per 100,000 persons. Of these, 18.0 percent1 of males and 26.6 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).
  • District Incidence: Between 2011-2015, there were 9,232 newly reported cases of chronic HCV in Washington, D.C. (DC DOH).There was no data available on acute HCV cases reported in Washington, D.C.
  • District Prevalence: In 2010, there were an estimated 16,400 people living with HCV in Washington, D.C. (HepVu).

Additional Resources

NIH RePORTER FY2017 NIH-funded projects related to opioid use and use disorder in Washington D.C.: 5

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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