The rise in non-fatal and fatal overdoses involving stimulants with and without opioids in the United States.

Publication date: Jan 07, 2020

To examine trends and recent changes in non-fatal and fatal stimulant overdose rates with and without opioids to improve the descriptive characterization of the US overdose epidemic.

Secondary analysis of non-fatal (2006-16) and fatal (2006-17) drug overdose trends, focusing on the most recent years of data available to examine rate changes by demographics (2015-16 for non-fatal and 2016-17 for fatal).

Non-fatal drug overdoses from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project’s Nationwide Emergency Department Sample; drug overdose deaths from the National Vital Statistics System.

International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-9-CM) and Tenth Revision, Clinical Modification/Procedure Coding System (ICD-10-CM/PCS) codes for cocaine, psychostimulants and opioids were used to classify non-fatal drug overdoses. Drug overdose deaths were identified using ICD-10 multiple cause-of-death codes for cocaine, psychostimulants, all opioids, heroin and synthetic opioids.

Percentage of changes in age-adjusted non-fatal and fatal rates of cocaine and psychostimulant-involved drug overdose with and without opioids.

Overall, cocaine-involved non-fatal overdose rates with an opioid increased from 2006 to 2016 [annual percentage change (APC) = 14.7], while rates without an opioid increased from 2006 to 2012 (APC = 11.3) and then remained stable (APC = -7.5). Psychostimulant-involved non-fatal rates with and without an opioid increased from 2006 to 2016 (APC = 49.9 with opioids; 13.9 without opioids). Cocaine-involved death rates with and without opioids increased from 2014 to 2017 (APC = 46.0 with opioids, 23.6 without opioids). Psychostimulant-involved death rates with opioids increased from 2010 to 2015 (APC = 28.6), with a dramatic increase from 2015 to 2017 (APC = 50.5), while rates without opioids increased from 2008 to 2017 (APC = 22.6). In 2016, 27% of non-fatal cocaine- and 14% of psychostimulant-involved overdoses included a reported opioid; 72.7% of cocaine- and 50.3% of psychostimulant-involved deaths involved an opioid in 2017. From 2015 to 2016, cocaine-involved and psychostimulant-involved non-fatal overdose rates with an opioid increased 17.0 and 5.9%, respectively; cocaine-involved and psychostimulant-involved non-fatal overdoses without opioids decreased 13.6 and increased 18.9%, respectively. Death rates involving stimulants increased with and without opioids from 2016 to 2017 (cocaine with and without opioids = 37.7 and 23.3%; psychostimulants with and without opioids = 52.2 and 23.0%). Death rates involving stimulants with synthetic opioids increased dramatically from 2016 to 2017 (1.3-2.3 per 100?000 for cocaine and 0.3-0.8 for psychostimulants).

While increases in cocaine-involved deaths in the United States from 2006 seem to be driven by opioids, particularly synthetic opioids, increases in non-fatal and fatal overdoses involving psychostimulants are occurring with and without opioids.

Hoots, B., Vivolo-Kantor, A., and Seth, P. The rise in non-fatal and fatal overdoses involving stimulants with and without opioids in the United States. 04497. 2020 Addiction.

Concepts Keywords
APC Psychoactive drugs
Cocaine Euphoriants
Drug Overdose Analgesics
Epidemic Morphine
Heroin Medical emergencies
ICD 10 Drug culture
Opioid Opioid
Opioids Drug overdose
Overdose Addiction
Overdose Deaths Heroin
United States


Type Source Name
disease MESH Emergency
drug DRUGBANK Cocaine
disease MESH multiple
disease MESH death
drug DRUGBANK Diamorphine


Original Article

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