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Arizona Opioid Summary

Revised February 2018

Opioid-Related Overdose Deaths

In 2016, there were 769 opioid-related overdose deaths­­­ in Arizona—a rate of 11.4 deaths per 100,000 persons, compared to the national rate of 13.3 deaths per 100,000 persons. From 2013 to 2016, the number of heroin-related deaths increased from 102 to 299 deaths and were the main driver of the rising opioid overdose death rate. In the same period, deaths related to synthetic opioids increased from 36 to 123 deaths.

This graph shows the rate of opioid-related overdose deaths in Arizona compared to the United States from 1999-2016. In 2016, the opioid overdose death rate was 11.4 deaths per 100,000 persons in Arizona, versus 13.3 deaths per 100,000 persons in the United States.

Opioid Pain Reliever Prescriptions

In 2013, Arizona providers wrote 76.2 opioid prescription for every 100 persons (approximately 5.1 million prescriptions). In the same year, the average U.S. rate was 79.3. Since then, opioid prescriptions in the United States have declined, with a 4.9 percent decline in Arizona from 2013 to 2015, resulting in an estimated 70.5 opioid prescriptions per 100 persons (4.8 million prescriptions) in 2015 (IMS Health, 2016).

This graph shows the number of opioid-related overdose deaths in Arizona from 1999-2016. In 2016, there were 769 opioid-related overdose deaths: 380 involved synthetic opioids, 299 involved heroin, and 123 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 Arizona has increased from 1.3 per 1,000 births in 1999 to 3.9 per 1,000 births in 2013, a threefold increase. The average across the 28 states included in the 2013 analysis was 6.0 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, 717 occurred in Arizona (a rate of 13 per 100,000 persons), with 12.3 percent1 of new cases in males and 21.7 percent of new cases in females attributed to IDU (AIDSVu).
  • State Prevalence: In 2014, an estimated 14,726 persons were living with a diagnosed HIV infection in Arizona—a rate of 265 per 100,000 persons. Of these, 18.7 percent1 of males and 27.6 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).
  • State Incidence: In 2015, Arizona reported 7,422 cases new of HCV at a rate of 108.9 per 100,000 persons. In a sample of Arizona HCV cases, 67 percent of persons had ever used intravenous drugs (azdhs.gov).
  • State Prevalence: As of 2010, an estimated 90,000 persons were living with HCV in Arizona at a rate of 1,890 per 100,000 persons (HepVu).

Additional Resources

NIH RePORTER FY2017 NIH-funded projects related to opioid use and use disorder in Arizona: 3


  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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