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Fast Facts: Drug Overdoses

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were approximately 67,000 deaths in the United States due to drug overdoses in 2018. That number is four times higher than the drug overdose death number in 1999. Preliminary data show the rate of drug overdose deaths rose in 2019 by 4.6%, with 50,000 of those deaths having involved opioids. That same year, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported 1,200 deaths due to drug overdoses in this state. The main substances included when speaking about drugs are opioids, cocaine, heroin, and meth (unless stated otherwise). Opioids currently account for the greatest of all drug overdose deaths in Wisconsin. The CDC reports that 70% percent of the 67,000 drug overdose deaths in the United States 2018 were attributed to opioids.
The Wisconsin Hospital Association Information Center utilizes data from claims forms for analysis of hospital care trends in the state. When looking at emergency department (ED) visits for all drugs, there were roughly 8,000 visits reported in Wisconsin in 2019 alone. The age group with the highest number of ED visits was 11-20. The median age of drug overdose patients was 27 years. Females had a larger number of ED visits related to drug overdoses than males, with approximately 700 more visits. When heroin, opioids and stimulants are looked at individually, males had more drug overdose ED visits.

The median total charge for an ED drug overdose visit included a patient cost of $2,892. White people accounted for the majority of drug overdose ED visits. Milwaukee county had the highest rate of ED visits related to drug overdoses. 

If you or a loved-one are currently experiencing a drug addition, the follow resources are available to help: