Onondaga County Opioid Epidemic Data Report

A National Trend, a Local Crisis

“The increased use of prescription opioid pain medications, along with the widespread availability of cheap heroin and newer synthetic Fentanyl analogs, have contributed to a public health crisis in our community. Too many people have died and many have been deeply affected by this issue” – Indu Gupta MD, MPH, MA, FACP, Commissioner of Health, Onondaga County Health Department”

As seen nationally, Onondaga County has experienced an increase in opioid use over the last several years. The crisis has affected individuals in across all populations in Onondaga County.

This data report shows information from multiple sources to provide a broad picture of the impact of opioid misuse in Onondaga County. These data were selected because they show the scale and scope of the crisis our community is currently facing. When relevant, comparisons will be made to New York State (NYS) excluding New York City (NYC), Central New York, and other counties in NYS.

Opioid-Related Deaths

There has been an increase in opioid-related deaths within Onondaga County since 2012. The proportion of opioid-related deaths involving fentanyl has also increased substantially. Figure 1 depicts unintentional opioid-related deaths in Onondaga County from 2012-2019.

Figure 1: Total Unintended Opioid Related Deaths in Onondaga County, 2012-2019

 

Total Deaths through quarter 1 if 2019

Source: Onondaga County Medical Examiner’s Office, April 2019.

Figure 1 data notes: Chart includes fentanyl analogs.  Deaths are through the first quarter of 2019. Data from the second quarter of 2019 will be reported at the end of the third quarter of 2019

2018 and 2019 data are provisional. The categories used in Figure 1 are defined below: 

Heroin-related: Heroin alone or in combination with other drugs (non fentanyl)

Fentanyl-related: Fentanyl alone or in combination with other drugs (non heroin)

Both fentanyl- and heroin-related: Both fentanyl and heroin alone or in combination with other drugs

Other opioids: Opioids other than heroin or fentanyl

Figure 2: Unintended Prescription Opioid-Related Deaths in Onondaga County

Prescription Opioid Deaths through Quarter 1
Source: Onondaga County Medical Examiner’s Office, April 2019.

Figure 2 data notes:  Deaths are through the first quarter of 2019. Data from the second quarter of 2019 will be reported at the end of the third quarter of 2019. Deaths in Figure 2 are included in Figure 1 above.  2019 data are provisional.

Figure 3: Opioid Overdose Death Rates per 100,000 population, Central New York Counties, 2017

County Comparison of Rates of Overdose Deaths

Source: New York State-County Quarterly Report Published April 2019

Emergency Department Visits and Hospitalizations

In addition to mortality rates, Emergency Department visit and hospitalization rates help to demonstrate the extent of the crisis in Onondaga County.  Hospitalization rates in Onondaga County are slightly higher than in NYS excluding NYC (Figure 5), while ED visits within Onondaga County are lower than the rest of the state. 2017 is the most recent year for which complete data are available.

Figure 4: Opioid Overdose Emergency Department Visits per 100,000 population, Onondaga County and NYS excluding NYC, 2017

Opioid Overdose Emergency Department Visits per 100,000 population

Source: New York State-County Quarterly Report Published April 2019

Figure 5: Opioid Overdose Hospitalization Rates per 100,000 population, Onondaga County and NYS excluding NYC, 2017

Opioid Overdose Hospitalization Rates per 100,000 population

Source: New York State-County Quarterly Report Published April 2019

Drug Exposed Newborns

Drug use impacts many families in our community, including some of the youngest residents. Onondaga County has the third highest rate in New York State for newborn drug-related diagnoses, with 304.3 drug-related diagnoses per 10,000 newborn discharges in 2014 (Figure 7).

Figure 6: Newborn Drug-Related Diagnosis Rate Per 10,000 Newborn Discharges, Onondaga County and NYS Excluding NYC, 2003-2014

Source: New York State Department of Health, Statewide Planning and Research Cooperative System (SPARCS)

Figure 7: Newborn Drug-Related Diagnosis Rate Per 10,000 Newborn Discharges, NYS Counties, 2014.

Source: New York State Department of Health, Statewide Planning and Research Cooperative System (SPARCS)

Figure 7 data note: In some counties data were suppressed because they did not meet the reporting criteria. These counties were excluded from the chart.

Safe Medication Disposal

Onondaga County’s Sharps Needles and Drug Disposal (SNADD) program offers a solution for the safe disposal of household medications.  Several medicine and needle drop boxes are located throughout Onondaga County.  Since it’s inception, in November 2015, the program has collected 3,025 lbs of drugs.

Figure 9: Total Pounds Collected Through SNADD Program, Onondaga County, 2015-2018

Total Pounds of Drugs Collected through SNADD program by year

Source: Upstate New York Poison Center

Figure 9 data note: 2015 data reflects total pounds collected starting November 2015, when the program was initiated. 2018 totals reflect pounds collected through December 31st of 2018. 

Naloxone is a life saving medication that can be administered to reverse an opioid overdose.

Between 2015 and 2016 there was a slight increase in the number of naloxone administrations reported by Emergency Medical Services in Onondaga County. Reports of administrations for 2017 show a decrease by comparison. (Figure 10).

Figure 10: Naloxone Administration by Emergency Medical Services, Onondaga County, 2016 – 2018

Number of Naloxone Administrations by EMS

Source: New York State-County Quarterly Report Published January 2019 and April 2019

Figure 10 Data Notes: Preliminary data as of February 2019. Numbers represent only naloxone administration events reported electronically, actual number of events may be higher. Additional data validation steps have been taken to de-duplicate administrations by multiple agencies for the same patient encounter.

Figure 11: Unique Clients admitted to OASAS-Certified Chemical Dependence Treatment Programs, Onondaga County, 2016-2017

Number of Clients admitted to Certified Chemical Dependence Programs

Source: New York State-County Quarterly Report Published April 2019

Figure 11 Data Notes: Clients may have heroin, other opioids, or any other substance simultaneously recorded as the primary, secondary and tertiary substance of abuse at admission. Preliminary data as of January 2019.