Mercer County pain med overdose rate higher than heroin OD's - News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Mercer County exceeds state average

Mercer County pain med overdose rate higher than heroin OD's

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With a lot of media attention focusing on the heroin epidemic across the nation, a new report sheds light on the number of people hospitalized for pain medication overdoses as well.

The rate of people hospitalized for pain medicine overdoses over a two year period in Mercer County was higher than the rate for heroin overdoses according to new figures published by an independent state agency.

The Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4) reports that the rate of hospitalization for heroin overdoses was 31 for every 100,000 Mercer County residents during 2016 and 2017. Which was about the same for the state average.

Meanwhile, the rate of hospitalization for pain medication overdoses during the same period in Mercer County was 45 for every 100,000 residents, which is higher than the statewide average of 33 hospitalizations per 100,000 residents.

Statewide statistics

The report says the hospitalization rate for Pennsylvanians age 55 and older admitted for a heroin overdose increased 35.8%, between 2016 and 2017.

Hispanic residents had the highest increase at 48.8%. Lower income residents had an increase of 40.8%.

There was a 12.5% increase in the rate of hospital admissions for heroin overdose among Pennsylvania residents overall.

“Opioid use is an ‘equal opportunity offender’ and affects all segments of Pennsylvania’s population; yet, some have been hit particularly hard,” stated Joe Martin, PHC4’s Executive Director. “While Pennsylvania has made progress in curbing admissions for pain medication, heroin continues to be a significant challenge,” added Martin.

The research brief, part of a series examing opioid-related hospitalizations, focuses on demographic differences among Pennsylvania residents hospitalized for an opioid overdose, identifying those with the highest rates of hospitalization in 2017 as well as those with the highest rate increases between 2016 and 2017.

Results for heroin overdose and pain medication overdose are reported separately.

The brief is available on PHC4's website at You can also link to it through social media on Facebook and Twitter.

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