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Colorado Opioid Summary

Revised February 2018

Opioid-Related Overdose Deaths

In 2016, there were 536 opioid-related overdose deaths in Colorado, a rate of 9.5 deaths per 100,000 persons compared to the national rate of 13.3 deaths per 100,000 persons. From 2012 to 2016, the number of heroin-related deaths increased from 91 to 234 and deaths related to synthetic opioids rose from 52 to 72.

This graph shows the rate of opioid-related overdose deaths in Colorado compared to the United States from 1999-2016. In 2016, the opioid overdose death rate was 9.5 deaths per 100,000 persons in Colorado, versus 13.3 deaths per 100,000 persons in the United States.

Opioid Pain Reliever Prescriptions

In 2013, Colorado providers wrote 69.8 opioid prescriptions for every 100 persons (approximately 3.7 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 6.0 percent decline in Colorado from 2013 to 2015, resulting in an estimated 63.7 opioid prescriptions per 100 persons (3.5 million prescriptions) in 2015 (IMS Health, 2016).

This graph shows the number of opioid-related overdose deaths in Colorado from 1999-2016. In 2016, there were 536 opioid-related overdose deaths: 72 involved synthetic opioids, 234 involved heroin, and 258 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 Colorado has increased from 0.4 per 1,000 births in 1999 to 2.9 per 1,000 births in 2013, a more than sevenfold 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, 373 occurred in Colorado (a rate of 8 per 100,000 persons), with 10.9 percent 1 of new cases in males and 17.3 percent of new cases in females attributed to IDU (AIDSVu).
  • State Prevalence: In 2014, an estimated 11,199 persons were living with a diagnosed HIV infection in Colorado-a rate of 252 per 100,000 persons. Of these, 17.0 percent 1 of males and 24.8 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 2016, Colorado reported 4,865 cases of chronic HCV and 41 cases of acute HCV at rates of about 90.0 per 100,000 persons and 0.7 per 100,000 persons, respectively. Where data were available, about 47 percent of acute cases and 2.4 percent of chronic cases reported IDU. (Colorado.gov).
  • State Prevalence: As of 2010, an estimated 66,100 persons were living with HCV in Colorado (HepVu).

Additional Resources

NIH RePORTER FY2017 NIH-funded projects related to opioid use and use disorder in Colorado: 6

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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