Revised May 2019
Drug Overdose Deaths
In 2017, there were more than 70,200 drug overdose deaths in the U.S.–an age-adjusted rate of 21.7 per 100,000 persons. Among these, 47,600 involved opioids. The sharpest increase occurred among deaths involving fentanyl and fentanyl analogs (other synthetic narcotics) with more than 28,400 overdose deaths in 2017.
The age-adjusted rate of drug overdose deaths increased significantly in Louisiana by 12.4 percent from 2016 (21.8 per 100,000) to 2017 (24.5 per 100,000). While the majority of drug overdose deaths in 2017 involved an opioid, overdose deaths involving opioids are not included for the state because the data reported did not meet inclusion criteria (see Scholl L, et al. MMWR Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2019;67:1419–1427).
Opioid Pain Reliever Prescriptions
In 2017, Louisiana providers wrote 89.5 opioid prescriptions for every 100 persons (Figure 2), compared to the average U.S. rate of 58.7 prescriptions. The rate was among the top five in the United States that year (CDC); however, it was also the lowest rate in the state since data became available in 2006.
Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS)
NAS or neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome (NOWS) may occur when a pregnant woman uses drugs such as opioids during pregnancy. A recent national study revealed a fivefold increase in the incidence of NAS/NOWS between 2004 and 2014, from 1.5 cases per 1,000 hospital births to 8.0 cases per 1,000 hospital births. This is the equivalent of one baby born with symptoms of NAS/NOWS every 15 minutes in the United States. During the same period, hospital costs for NAS/NOWS births increased from $91 million to $563 million, after adjusting for inflation (Figure 3).
The number of NAS/NOWS cases in Louisiana rose by 50% from 243 cases 2012 to 360 in 2017. St. Tammany, Jefferson and East Baton Rouge Parishes reported the highest number of NAS/NOWS cases, with 45, 32 and 30 cases, respectively (Louisiana Department of Health).
HIV Prevalence and HIV Diagnoses Attributed to Injection Drug Use (IDU)
- U.S. Incidence: In 2016, 9 percent (3,480) of the 39,589 new diagnoses of HIV in the United States were attributed to IDU. Among males, 6.3 percent (2,530) of new cases were transmitted via IDU or male-to-male contact and IDU. Among females, 2.3 percent (950) were transmitted via IDU (CDC).
- U.S. Prevalence: In 2016, 991,447 Americans were living with a diagnosed HIV infection—a rate of 306.6 cases per 100,000 persons. Among males, 19.9 percent (150,4661) contracted HIV from IDU or male-to-male contact and IDU while 21 percent (50,154) of females were living with HIV attributed to IDU (CDC).
- State Incidence: Of the new HIV cases in 2016, 1,151 occurred in Louisiana. Among males, 7.3 percent of new HIV cases were attributed to IDU or male-to-male contact and IDU. Among females, 12.1 percent of new HIV cases were attributed to IDU (Figure 4) (AIDSVu).
- State Prevalence: In 2015, an estimated 19,492 persons were living with a diagnosed HIV infection in Louisiana—a rate of 504 cases per 100,000 persons. Of those, 18.3 percent of male cases were attributed to IDU or male-to-male contact and IDU. Among females, 18.9 percent were living with HIV attributed to IDU (AIDSVu).
Hepatitis C (HCV) Prevalence and HCV Diagnoses Attributed to Injection Drug Use1
- U.S. Incidence: In 2016, there were an estimated 41,200 new cases of acute HCV2 (CDC). Among case reports that contain information about IDU, 68.6 percent indicated use of injection drugs (CDC).
- U.S. Prevalence: An estimated 2.4 million Americans are living with HCV based on 2013-2016 annual averages (CDC).
- State Incidence: There were approximately 5 new cases of acute HCV (0.1 per 100,000 persons) reported in Louisiana in 2012-2016 (CDC).
- State Prevalence: In Louisiana, there are an estimated 50,700 persons living with Hepatitis C (2013-2016 annual average), a rate of 1,440 cases per 100,000 persons (HepVu).
- Louisiana Department of Health, Opioids: The Problem and Challenges in Louisiana
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Opioid Overdose
- Includes transmission to individuals with injection drug use as a risk factor.
- 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.
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