Prescription Drug Misuse Prevention

In 2014, there were 870 prescription drug overdose deaths in Colorado. Eighty deaths were among 15-25 year olds. In the same year, almost 5,000 people were hospitalized for prescription drug overdose. In Colorado, unintentional drug overdose (including drug overdose of undetermined intent) is the third leading cause of injury death. Non-fatal drug overdoses is the fourth leading cause of injury hospitalizations and the fifth cause of injury-related ED visits. From 2012-2014, the average annual age-adjusted rate is 12.3 deaths per 100,000 population, 42.7 hospitalizations per 100,000 population, and 102.6 ED visits per 100,000 population in 2014. Each year, on average, 664 Coloradans die by unintentional drug overdose, and 2,327 hospitalizations and another 5,397 ED visits for unintentional drug overdose occur.

In 2014, drugs and medications (prescription drugs, illicit drugs, and over-the-counter medications) contributed to 87 percent of all poisoning deaths. Of the drug overdose deaths, 76 percent were unintentional, 19 percent were suicide and 5 percent had undetermined intent. Males had a higher drug overdose death rate, compared to females. Persons aged 45-54 years old had the highest rates of all age categories.
*Can access up-to-date hospitalization info on CoHID

Long-term Objectives: (Need to update)
  • Reduce adult poisoning death rate in Colorado to 10/100,000 population, (2008 Colorado rate is 11.7).
  • Decrease the adult unintentional poisoning hospitalization rate in Colorado to 36/100,000 (2008 Colorado rate is 38.9).


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