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Louisiana Opioid Summary

Revised February 2018

Opioid-Related Overdose Deaths

In 2016, there were 346 opioid-related overdose deaths­­­ in Louisiana—a rate of 7.7 deaths per 100,000 persons—compared to the national rate of 13.3 deaths per 100,000. The main driver of opioid-related overdose deaths through 2012 was prescription opioids. Since then, heroin and synthetic opioids have increased dramatically. From 2012 to 2016, heroin and synthetic opioid-related overdose deaths increased from 51 to 149 deaths and from 19 to 89 deaths, respectively.

This graph shows the rate of opioid-related overdose deaths in Louisiana compared to the United States from 1999-2016. In 2016, the opioid overdose death rate was 7.7 deaths per 100,000 persons in Louisiana, versus 13.3 deaths per 100,000 persons in the United States.

Opioid Pain Reliever Prescriptions

In 2015, Louisiana providers wrote 103.2 opioid prescriptions per 100 persons (4.8 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 Louisiana from 1999-2016. In 2016, there were 346 opioid-related overdose deaths: 89 involved synthetic opioids, 149 involved heroin, and 124 involved prescription opioids. Categories are not mutually exclusive because deaths may involve more than one drug.

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS)

Over a 10-year period (2003-2013), the incidence of NAS in Louisiana increased from 2.1 cases per 1,000 Medicaid births in 2003 to 8.0 cases per 1,000 births in 2013—a nearly fourfold increase (Okoroh, 2017). The average across the 28 states included in a separate 2013 analysis was 6.0 cases per 1,000 births (CDC, MMWR, 2014). According to Louisiana Medicaid data, the majority of NAS births were to women over age 25 who most commonly had an opioid dependency during pregnancy, compared to all other substances (Louisiana.gov).

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, 1,129 occurred in Louisiana, with 9.7 percent1 of new cases in males and 11.0 percent of new cases in females attributed to IDU (AIDSVu).
  • State Prevalence: In 2014, an estimated 18,950 persons were living with a diagnosed HIV infection in Louisiana—a rate of 493 infections per 100,000 persons. Of these, 19.1 percent1 of males and 19.2 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, Louisiana reported 2,478 cases of chronic HCV and 24 cases of acute HCV (0.5 cases per 100,000 persons) (CDC).
  • State Prevalence: As of 2015, an estimated 82,000 persons (1.8 percent) are living with HCV in Louisiana (Louisiana.gov). An estimated 45,000 inject drugs, with nearly a quarter living in New Orleans (Human Rights Watch, 2013), and 51.5 percent of people who inject drugs in New Orleans are HCV positive (Louisiana.gov).

Additional Resources

NIH RePORTER FY2017 NIH-funded projects related to opioid use and use disorder in Louisiana: 1

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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