Report: Good news, barely, on opioid hospital admissions

By Mark Guydish - [email protected]

According to a new report, hospitalization for opioid overdoses in Luzerne County dropped from 2016 to 2017. But the actual numbers went from 73 admissions to 72.

The report also shows over both years combined, the overdose admission rate per 100,000 residents was comfortably lower than the state rate: 54.5 admissions per 100,000 locally compared to the state rate of 64.6.

The Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council issued the research brief Wednesday morning. It looks at opioid overdose hospitalizations for 2016 and 2017.

The good news, such as it is: While heroin overdose admissions went up 12.7 percent statewide, that was the lowest increase in recent years. The average annual increases had been about 24 percent between 2011 and 2016. Meanwhile, admissions for pain medication overdose were down 2.2 percent.

The bad news: Mortality from overdoses has risen for both. The increase in mortality for heroin admissions was relatively small, from 9.3 percent in 2016 to 9.6 percent in 2017. The mortality increase for pain medication overdose admissions was more substantial, from 2.9 percent to 5 percent.

County-level data in the report gives the total number of opioid admissions (both heroin and painkillers) for both years, and the rate per 100,000 residents for the two years combined.

Among Luzerne and its seven neighboring counties, Wyoming County had the lowest rate, at 43.3 admissions per 100,000, though it does not report the number of admissions — an indication it was fewer than 10 both years. Columbia County had the highest rate at 81.2 admissions per 100,000 residents, but it had low numbers; 21 admissions for overdoses in 2016 and 25 in 2017.

By Mark Guydish

[email protected]

Reach Mark Guydish at 570-991-6112 or on Twitter @TLMarkGuydish

Reach Mark Guydish at 570-991-6112 or on Twitter @TLMarkGuydish