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Wisconsin Opioid Summary

Revised February 2018

Opioid-Related Overdose Deaths

In 2016, there were 865 opioid-related overdose deaths­­­ in Wisconsin—a rate of 15.8 deaths per 100,000 persons—compared to the national rate of 13.3 deaths per 100,000. Since 2010, heroin overdose deaths have increased from 92 to 389 deaths—a more than fourfold increase. Deaths attributed to synthetic opioids (mainly fentanyl) increased similarly from 66 to 288 deaths and deaths due to prescription opioids increased from 285 to 382 deaths.

This graph shows the rate of opioid-related overdose deaths in Wisconsin compared to the United States from 1999-2016. In 2016, the opioid overdose death rate was 15.8 deaths per 100,000 persons in Wisconsin, versus 13.3 deaths per 100,000 persons in the United States.

Opioid Pain Reliever Prescriptions

In 2015, Wisconsin providers wrote 69.1 opioid prescriptions per 100 persons (4 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 Wisconsin from 1999-2016. In 2016, there were 865 opioid-related overdose deaths: 288 involved synthetic opioids, 389 involved heroin, and 382 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 Wisconsin increased from 0.4 cases per 1,000 births in 1999 to 7.9 cases per 1,000 in 2013—a nearly twentyfold increase. The average across the 28 states included in the 2013 analysis was 6.0 cases per 1,000 births (CDC, MMWR, 2014).

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, 229 occurred in Wisconsin, with 4.1 percent1 of males and 17.1 percent of females had new HIV cases attributed to IDU (AIDSVu).
  • State Prevalence: In 2014, an estimated 5,952 persons were living with a diagnosed HIV in Wisconsin—a rate of 123 cases per 100,000 persons. Of these, 15.8 percent1 of males and 21.3 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, Wisconsin reported 3,745 total cases of HCV, including 61 acute cases, at rates of 65.3 cases per 100,000 persons and 1.1 cases per 100,000 persons, respectively. Of the acute cases, 67 percent were attributed to IDU (Wisconsin.gov).
  • State Prevalence: As of 2015, an estimated 90,000 persons were living with HCV in Wisconsin (Wisconsin.gov).

Additional Resources

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