The latest statistics from officials in a coalition to lower opiod misuse show that the number of deaths in Nebraska attributed to the misuse has dropped, but officials say that ongoing work must be done to prevent more opioid misuse.
In 2017, 183 people in Nebraska died of a drug overdose, at least 59 were confirmed to have involved opioids. Nebraska’s drug overdose death rate in 2017 was 9.8 overdose deaths for every 100,000 people. In 2018, 154 people in Nebraska died of a drug overdose, at least 60 involved opioids. Nebraska’s drug overdose death rate was 8.2 overdose deaths for every 100,000 people in 2018.
Of the 154 overdose deaths in 2018, only 42.8% have “unspecified drug” listed on the death certificate. Since 2006 there has not been a year in which the unspecified drug rate has been lower than 54%.
UNMC Chancellor, Jeffrey P. Gold, M.D., said progress is being made at UNMC to address the most appropriate use of prescription opioids and develop new programs to curb opioid misuse in Nebraska. “This is an issue that has a significant and long-lasting impact on the health of Nebraskans and their families,” Dr. Gold said.
Sheri Dawson, director of the Division of Behavioral Health for the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, said while Nebraska has a low rate of opioid use disorder and overdose fatalities, the department plans to keep it that way through a number of initiatives with its Nebraska Coalition to Prevent Opioid Abuse partners.
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