State opioid death stats are chilling

 Posted at 1:15 p.m. on October 18, 2017

The Brillion News

MADISON – Deaths from heroin and other opioids are increasing dramatically, and a new state on-line database shows the numbers.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) announced that data on opioid death and injury is now available by visiting  https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/wish/index.htm

The announcement was made at a meeting of the DHS Opioid Abuse Prevention and Treatment Steering Committee which informs Governor Scott Walker’s Task Force on Opioid Abuse.




The interactive database includes data from 2000-2016 that were gathered from a variety of sources. The data will be updated each year.

Some of the key findings within the data include:

  1. Drug overdose deaths in Wisconsin increased 300 percent during a 15-year period; there were 246 deaths in 2000 compared to 1,031 deaths in 2016. The age-adjusted rate during the same period went from 4.6 per 100,000 to 18.5 per 100,000.

  2. From 2000 to 2016, over half of the drug overdose deaths involved prescription opioids, and the total number of deaths due to prescription opioids increased 600 percent, from 81 cases in 2000 to 568 in 2016. While death from heroin overdose accounted for 36 percent of all drug overdose deaths, heroin overdose deaths increased 12 times, from 28 deaths in 2000 to 371 deaths in 2016.

  3. From 2005 to 2016, the total number of opioid-related hospital emergency room visits and hospitalizations nearly tripled, increasing from 9,968 to 27,101. Fifty-six percent of the hospital discharges involved a stay of more than 24 hours (hospitalization). Seventy-seven percent of the hospital discharges were related to substance use disorders.

The on-line database search tool allows users to get a statewide perspective of the opioid epidemic or select data based on geographic region, county, age, sex, race, and/or ethnicity.

A video explaining how to use the system is available on the WISH home page.

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