Overview of the Drug Overdose Epidemic: Behind the Numbers
The United States is amid the deadliest drug crisis ever in its history. Drug overdose deaths, including those involving prescription and illicit opioids, continue to increase and affect those of all ages, races, and socioeconomic statuses, in both urban and rural areas. The Data Sub-Committee meeting minutes are available here.
Nonfatal Drug Overdoses
For every fatal drug overdose, there are many more nonfatal overdoses, each one causing its own emotional and economic toll. This fast-moving epidemic does not distinguish among race, age, sex, or state or county lines. Current, timelier collection of emergency department (ED) visit information can be used to more efficiently identify, track, and respond to changes in drug overdose trends.
Timely data can improve coordination among partners such as public health, healthcare, public safety and first response, community members, and governmental agencies to promote readiness for increases in overdose at local, regional, and state levels.
Research indicates that individuals who have had at least one drug overdose are more likely to experience another. If a person is seen in the ED for a drug overdose, there is an opportunity to link that individual to services that can subsequently prevent additional overdoses and improve health outcomes.