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Washington Opioid Summary

Revised February 2018

Opioid-Related Overdose Deaths

In 2015, there were 692 opioid-related overdose deaths­­­ in Washington—a rate of 9.7 deaths per 100,000 persons—slightly less than the national rate of 10.3 deaths per 100,000. Since 2010, overdose deaths from heroin have increased from 60 to 303 deaths, while overdose deaths from synthetic opioids have remained constant, and overdose deaths from prescription opioids have decreased from 573 to 550 deaths.

This graph shows the rate of opioid-related overdose deaths in Washington compared to the United States from 1999-2015. In 2015, the opioid overdose death rate was 9.7 deaths per 100,000 persons in Washington, versus 10.3 deaths per 100,000 persons in the United States.

Opioid Pain Reliever Prescriptions

In 2015, Washington providers wrote 68.2 opioid prescriptions per 100 persons (4.88 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 Washington from 1999-2015. In 2015, there were 692 opioid-related overdose deaths: 65 involved synthetic opioids, 303 involved heroin, and 505 involved prescription opioids. Categories are not mutually exclusive because deaths may involve more than one drug.

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS)

The incidence of NAS in Washington increased from 1.3 cases per 1,000 births in 2000 to 7.9 cases per 1,000 in 2013—a more than sixfold increase (CDC, MMWR, 2014). The average across the 28 states included in the 2013 analysis was 6.0 cases per 1,000 births.

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, 445 occurred in Washington, with 12.2 percent1 of new cases in males and 17.9 percent of new cases in females attributed to IDU (AIDSVu).
  • State Prevalence: In 2014, an estimated 12,030 persons were living with a diagnosed HIV infection in Washington—a rate of 204 infections per 100,000 persons. Of these, 17.0 percent1 of males and 21.8 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, Washington reported 6,918 cases of chronic HCV and 63 cases of acute HCV at rates of 98.0 cases per 100,000 persons and 0.9 cases per 100,000 persons, respectively. Where data were available, 74 percent were attributed to IDU (WA.gov).
  • State Prevalence: An estimated 100,000 persons may live with HCV in Washington (WA.gov).

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.

Washington is home to one of the eleven Centers of Excellence in Pain Education (CoEPEs): the John D. Loeser Center of Excellence in Pain Education at the University of Washington. 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 Washington: 8

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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