207713 Trends in drug intoxication deaths in Connecticut, 1997 - 2007

Wednesday, November 11, 2009: 1:06 PM

Lauretta E. Grau, Ph D , Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Yale University, New Haven, CT
Background: The incidence of accidental/unintentional drug intoxication deaths (AUODs) has increased in the U.S. since the 1990s. AUODs are the principal cause of mortality among drug injectors (IDUs), far exceeding deaths attributable to AIDS, hepatitis, or other morbidities. This study examines trends in AUOD incidence in Connecticut, the types of drugs involved, and potential associated risk factors.

Methods: From the database of Connecticut's Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, we extracted all cases of AUODs occurring between 1997 and 2007. AUODS with a cause of death of vehicular accident, drowning, asphyxia, or smoke inhalation were excluded as were those attributed to carbon monoxide, caffeine, cyanide, water, or ethylene glycol. We calculated trends in AUODs involving heroin, various prescription opioids (including methadone), tramadol, ethanol, and cocaine; sociodemographic trends are also reported.

Results: Of the 2900 AUODs, 77.2% involved opioids, which occurred more often among younger age groups, whites, and males when compared to AUODs not involving opioids. Trends over time suggest a reduction in heroin-, cocaine-, and alcohol-involved AUODs and an increase in prescription opioid- and methadone-involved deaths. Methadone, oxycodone, and fentanyl were the three most frequently cited opioids, and their mention increased over time. The proportion of opioid-involved AUODs also increased for Whites and females. The proportion of AUODs occurring in a public place decreased over time.

Conclusions: Trends in AUODs in Connecticut suggest an increase in the proportion of prescription opioid-involved deaths relative those involving heroin. Potential strategies to decrease the incidence of AUODs will be discussed.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the trends over time in accidental/unintentional drug intoxication deaths in the state of Connecticut. 2. Discuss potential strategies that can be implemented by Health Departments and community-based organizations to mitigate drug overdose morbidity and mortality within local communities.

Keywords: Drug Abuse, Mortality

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have led the effort to create the database and to conduct the subsequent analyses. I am responsible for the ultimate interpretation of all data analyses.
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.