DEA announces release of 2018 Pennsylvania Drug-Related Overdose Death Report
PHILADELPHIA – Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Philadelphia Field Division Jonathan A. Wilson today announced today the release of the Drug-Related Overdose Deaths in Pennsylvania, 2018 report.
For the third year in a row, the DEA Philadelphia Field Division has partnered with the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy’s Program Evaluation Research Unit, Pennsylvania Opioid Overdose Reduction Technical Assistance Center to produce this report.
Key findings from the report include:
- In 2018, approximately 4,491 drug-related overdose deaths were reported by Pennsylvania coroners and medical examiners—an 18% decrease from 2017. In 2018, 12 people in Pennsylvania died of a drug-related overdose each day.
- The drug-related overdose death rate in Pennsylvania was 35 per 100,000 people in 2018. The overdose rate decreased in 41 counties, increased in 23, and remained unchanged in 3. The ten highest overdose death rates were concentrated in eastern and central Pennsylvania counties in 2018, compared to southwestern Pennsylvania counties in 2017.
- Despite a statewide decrease in overdose deaths, the rate of decrease by region was not uniform. The largest decrease in overdose death rates occurred in the Southwest District2 (41%), while rates of decrease in the remaining districts ranged from 11% to 1%.
- The presence of an opioid, illicit or prescription, was reported in 82% of drug-related overdose deaths in Pennsylvania in 2018, compared to 84% of drug-related overdose deaths in 2017.
- Fentanyl was the most frequently identified substance in drug-related overdose deaths (70% of deaths), remaining consistent with 2017. The younger population demographic was associated with fentanyl usage, as fentanyl was present in more than 75% of drug-related overdose decedents within the 15 to 24 and 25 to 34 age groups.
- Heroin remained the second most frequently identified substance in drug-related overdose deaths (35%), followed by cocaine (33%), benzodiazepines (28%), and fentanyl-related substances (FRSs) (23%).
The Drug-Related Overdose Deaths in Pennsylvania, 2018 report is available to the public for download at www.dea.gov or www.OverdoseFreePA.org.
Questions regarding the report may be addressed to Supervisory Special Agent Patrick J. Trainor, Public Information Officer, at either (571) 362-5391 or email@example.com.
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