En español
NIDA

Pennsylvania Opioid Summary

Revised February 2018

Opioid-Related Overdose Deaths

In 2016, there were 2,235 opioid-related overdose deaths­­­ in Pennsylvaniamdash;a rate of 18.5 deaths per 100,000 persons—compared to the national rate of 13.3 deaths per 100,000 persons. Since 2010, opioid-related overdose deaths have increased in all categories. Heroin overdose deaths have increased from 131 to 926; synthetic opioid overdose deaths have increased from 98 to 1309; and prescription opioid overdose deaths have increased from 411 to 729 deaths.

This graph shows the rate of opioid-related overdose deaths in Pennsylvania compared to the United States from 1999-2016. In 2016, the opioid overdose death rate was 18.5 deaths per 100,000 persons in Pennsylvania, versus 13.3 deaths per 100,000 persons in the United States.

Opioid Pain Reliever Prescriptions

In 2013, Pennsylvania providers wrote 88.6 opioid prescriptions per 100 persons (approximately 11.3 million prescriptions). In the same year, the average national rate was 79.3 (IMS Health, 2016). Since then, opioid prescriptions in the United States have declined, with a 9 percent decline in Pennsylvania from 2013 to 2015, resulting in an estimated 81.1 opioid prescriptions per 100 persons (10.4 million prescriptions) in 2015 (IMS Health, 2016).

This graph shows the number of opioid-related overdose deaths in Pennsylvania from 1999-2016. In 2016, there were 2,235 opioid-related overdose deaths: 1,309involved synthetic opioids, 926 involved heroin, and 729 involved prescription opioids. Categories are not mutually exclusive because deaths may involve more than one drug.

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS)

While data are not available comparing Pennsylvania rates of NAS to nationwide rates, NAS events reported to the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority rose from 1 in 2005 to 221 in 2014 (PA PSA, 2015), resulting in a total of 797 events during this time period. In a separate analysis, however, 1,953 infants were diagnosed with NAS in 2016 alone among Medicaid recipients (The Center for Children’s Justice).

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, 1,170 occurred in Pennsylvania, with 8.4 percent1 of new cases in males and 11.7 percent of new cases in females attributed to IDU (AIDSVu).
  • State Prevalence: In 2014, an estimated 33,593 persons were living with a diagnosed HIV infection in Pennsylvania—a rate of 309 infections per 100,000 persons. Of these, 26.2 percent1 of males and 27.4 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, Pennsylvania reported 11,988 cases of chronic HCV and 129 cases of acute HCV (1.0 case per 100,000 persons) (CDC). From 2003 to 2014, reported HCV infections occurred at a rate of 129.35 cases per 100,000 persons (PA.gov).
  • State Prevalence: As of 2015, an estimated 250,000 persons were living with HCV in Pennsylvania (PA.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.

Pennsylvania is home to two of the eleven Centers of Excellence in Pain Education (CoEPEs): the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Pittsburgh. 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 Pennsylvania: 22

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

Get this Publication

Opioid Summaries by State

NIH HEAL (Helping to End Addiction Long-term) Initiative

New Opioid Overdose Materials for Patients

Easy-to-read Drug Facts

This Is NIDA: Opioids

This Is NIDA: Opioids

The National Institute on Drug Abuse's research-based, informative video series "This Is NIDA," addresses the topic of OPIOIDS.