Hospitalizations for Pain Medication Overdoses Down 2.2 Percent in Pennsylvania

Last Updated: Jun 21, 2018

hospital-signThe latest numbers on Pennsylvania hospitalizations for opioid overdoses were released on June 13, 2018. While hospital admissions for overdoses remain high overall, the data show some positive signs for the commonwealth as it continues to battle the opioid crisis. 

The Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4) – an independent state agency tasked with collecting and analyzing data in order to improve health care quality and reduce costs – published a research brief examining the state’s inpatient hospitalizations for opioid overdoses between 2016 and 2017 for Pennsylvania residents, age 15 and older.

PHC4 reported a 2.2 percent decrease in hospital admissions for pain medication overdoses between 2016 and 2017.

Admissions for heroin overdoses increased 12.7 percent, a number that represents Pennsylvania’s lowest increase in recent years. Between 2011 and 2016, average annual increases were approximately 24 percent.

Other noteworthy statistics on Pennsylvania opioid overdose admissions from the research brief include:

  • In 2017, hospital admissions amounted to an estimated $32 million in payments.
  • On average, heroin overdose patients stayed in the hospital 3.4 days and pain medication overdose patients stayed 4.4 days, for a total of 13,642 days in 2017.
  • The hospitalization rates were significantly higher for lower income residents. Statewide, there were 64.6 hospitalizations for 100,000 residents in the two-year period from 2016 through 2017. The rate was 122.0 per 100,000 for residents living in areas with an average income of less than $30,000.

Get PHC4’s research brief on opioid overdose hospitalizations to get more details and statistics, including county-level overdose rates.

Related Resources

In May 2018, the American Medical Association (AMA) released a report from its Opioid Task force. The report found that Pennsylvania saw the second highest drop nationally in the number of opioid prescriptions in 2018. Get details on the AMA’s Opioid Task Force report.

Finding solutions to Pennsylvania’s opioid crisis is one of the Pennsylvania Medical Society’s (PAMED) priority issues. Visit PAMED’s Opioid Abuse Resource Center for resources such as opioids CME, information for prescribers on the Pennsylvania Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PA PDMP), and referral to treatment options for patients with substance use disorders.


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