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New Jersey Opioid Summary

Revised March 2019

Opioid-Related Overdose Deaths

In 2017, there were 1,969 drug overdose deaths involving opioids in New Jersey—a rate of 22.0 deaths per 100,000 persons, which is 50% higher than the national rate of 14.6 deaths per 100,000 persons. The greatest increase in opioid deaths was seen in cases involving synthetic opioids (mainly fentanyl): a rise from 38 deaths in 2012 to 1,376 deaths in 2017 (Figure 1). Deaths involving heroin also increased significantly in the same 5-year period: from 304 to 1,085 deaths. There were 490 deaths involving prescription opioids in 2017, nearly double the 273 deaths in 2014.

See textFigure 1. Number of overdose deaths involving opioids in the New Jersey, by opioid category. Source: CDC WONDER. *Circumstances in New Jersey for the year 2009 have resulted in unusually low death counts in other ICD-10 codes, most notably X40-X49, "Unintentional poisoning."

Opioid Pain Reliever Prescriptions

In 2017, New Jersey providers wrote 44.2 opioid prescriptions for every 100 persons (Figure 2), compared to the average U.S. rate of 58.7 prescriptions. This is the lowest rate in the state since data became available in 2006 (CDC). The rate of overdose deaths involving opioid prescriptions has not followed this trend. From 2015 through 2017 alone, the rate increased 70 percent to 5.3 deaths per 100,000 persons.  

See textFigure 2. New Jersey rate of overdose deaths involving prescriptions opioids and the opioid prescribing rate. Source: CDC and CDC WONDER. *Circumstances in New Jersey for the year 2009 have resulted in unusually low death counts in other ICD-10 codes, most notably X40-X49, "Unintentional poisoning."

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. That is one baby born with NAS/NOWS every 15 minutes in the United States. During the same period, hospital costs for NAS/NOW births increased from $91 million to $563 million, after adjusting for inflation (Figure 3).

In New Jersey, the rate of NAS/NOWS doubled from 2.5 cases per 1,000 hospital births in 2006 to 5.2 cases per 1,000 hospital births in 2013 (CDC).

See textFigure 3. NAS/NOW Incidence Rate and Hospital Costs for Treatment in the United States. Source: T N.A. Winkelman, et al., 2018.

HIV Prevalence and HIV Diagnoses Attributed to Injection Drug Use (IDU)

See textFigure 4. New Jersey: Estimated percent of male vs. female with new HIV diagnoses, by transmission category, 2016. Source: CDC and www.AIDSVU.org.
  • 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 new cases, 6.3 percent (2,530) were transmitted via IDU or male-to-male contact and IDU among men, and 2.3 percent (950) were transmitted via IDU among women (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, 1,143 occurred in New Jersey. Among males, 9.3 percent of new HIV cases were attributed to IDU or male-to-male contact and IDU. Among females, 11.9 percent of new HIV cases were attributed to IDU (Figure 4) (AIDSVu).
  • State Prevalence: In 2015, an estimated 35,636 persons were living with a diagnosed HIV infection in New Jersey—a rate of 473 cases per 100,000 persons. Of those, 28.6 percent of male cases were attributed to IDU or male-to-male contact and IDU. Among females, 31.1 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 122 new cases of acute HCV (1.4 per 100,000 persons) reported in New Jersey in 2016 (CDC).
  • State Prevalence: In New Jersey, there are an estimated 47,600 persons living with Hepatitis C (2013-2016 annual average), a rate of 690 cases per 100,000 persons (HepVu).

Notes

  1. Not all states collect or report data on the incidence or prevalence of Hepatitis C or on how Hepatitis C is transmitted. When available, the data will be included.
  2. Actual acute cases are estimated to be 13.9 times the number of reported cases in any year.

This page was last updated March 2019

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