184387 Unintentional drug poisoning death trends in border and non-border counties of New Mexico, 2004-2006

Monday, October 27, 2008: 9:24 AM

Nina G. Shah, MS , Epidemiology and Response Division, New Mexico Department of Health, Santa Fe, NM
Background: For the first time since 1989, New Mexico did not lead the nation in drug-induced death (2004), though concerning drug-specific trends are emerging. In 2006, prescription opioids caused the most unintentional poisoning deaths in New Mexico, followed by heroin, cocaine, and drug/alcohol combinations.

Methods: We analyzed medical examiner data for all poisoning drug poisoning deaths in New Mexico during 2004-2006. Age-adjusted death rates were calculated for New Mexico, border and non-border counties. The five border counties had significant population within 100 kilometers of the US-Mexico border.

Results: There were 920 unintentional drug poisoning deaths during 2004-2006 in New Mexico; the total drug poisoning death rate was 15.9 per 100,000. Compared to non-border counties, border counties had significantly higher death rates per 100,000 from: total drugs (22.4 (95% confidence interval [95%CI]: 18.2, 27.3) versus 15.3 (95%CI: 14.3, 16.4)); any prescription drug (12.2 (95%CI: 9.1, 16.0) versus 7.0 (95%CI: 6.3, 7.7)); prescription opioids other than methadone (8.3 (95%CI: 5.8, 11.6) versus 3.9 (95%CI: 3.4, 4.4)), and antidepressants (3.2 (95%CI: 1.7, 5.4) versus 1.3 (95%CI: 1.0, 1.7)). Death rates from heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, methadone, tranquilizers and alcohol/drug combinations were similar.

Conclusions: Highest rates of prescription drug poisoning death, specifically from opioids other than methadone and antidepressants, were observed among decedents in New Mexico border counties. Proximity to Mexico may indicate increased drug availability in bordering counties. Results may imply increased prescription drug use at the border, and correlates with preliminary treatment data showing clusters of opioid abuse in the same area.

Learning Objectives:
1. Demonstrate the benefits of statewide surveillance of unintentional drug poisoning death using medical examiner data. 2. Highlight differing patterns for types of drug poisoning in border and non-border regions.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Area of research expertise
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.