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PHOM Indicator Profile Report of Drug Overdose and Poisoning Incidents

Why Is This Important?

Drug poisoning deaths are a preventable public health problem; they are the leading cause of injury death in Utah, outpacing deaths due to firearms, falls, and motor vehicle crashes. Every month, 53 Utah adults die as a result of a drug poisoning, 84.3% of which are accidental or of undetermined intent, and of these, 75.6% involve opioids. Utah is particularly affected by prescription opioids, which are responsible for half of the accidental and undetermined drug poisoning deaths in the state.

Poisoning Deaths by Year, Utah and U.S., 1999-2017

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Data Sources

  • Utah Death Certificate Database, Office of Vital Records and Statistics, Utah Department of Health
  • Population Estimates: National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) through a collaborative agreement with the U.S. Census Bureau, IBIS Version 2017
  • National Center for Injury Prevention and Control's Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS)

Data Notes

Data are age-adjusted (2000 U.S. standard population). Poisoning deaths are defined as ICD-10 codes X40-X49, Y10-Y19, X60-X69, X85-X90, Y35.2, *U01.6-U01.7. Drug poisoning deaths are a subset of poisoning deaths and are defined as ICD-10 codes X40-44, X60-X64, X85, Y10-Y14. The Consensus Recommendations for National and State Poisoning Surveillance definition of a drug is as follows: A drug is any chemical compound that is chiefly used by or administered to humans or animals as an aid in the diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of disease or injury, for the relief of pain or suffering, to control or improve any physiologic or pathologic condition, or for the feeling it causes.

Risk Factors

In Utah, the top five circumstances observed in prescription opioid deaths were substance abuse problem, physical health problem, current mental health problem, history of alcohol or substance abuse, and history of suicide attempts. Source: Utah Department of Health Violence and Injury Prevention Program, Prescription Opioid Deaths in Utah, 2015 Fact Sheet [] (accessed 1/14/2017)

How Are We Doing?

The 2017 age-adjusted drug poisoning death rate was 22.3 per 100,000 population. During that year, 11.2% of Utah drug poisoning deaths were of undetermined intent, 16.9% were self-inflicted, and 71.8% were unintentional. From 2015 to 2017, males (25.4 per 100,000 population) had a significantly higher age-adjusted drug poisoning death rate compared to females (19.4 per 100,000 population). Males had the highest rates in the 25-34 year old age group, and rates among females were highest in the 45-54 year old age group. For ages 18-34, male drug poisoning death rates were significantly higher than female drug poisoning death rates. Children infrequently require hospitalization for the ingestion of poison, but 1 to 4 year-olds had significantly higher drug poisoning emergency department (ED) visits rates (35.1 per 10,000 population), along with 15-24 year olds (30.6 per 10,000 population), and 25-34 year olds (22.5 per 10,000 population) compared to the state (18.0 per 10,000 population) in 2012-2014.

What Is Being Done?

In July 2007, the Utah State Legislature passed House Bill 137 appropriating funding to the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) to establish a program to reduce deaths and other harm from prescription opiates. In 2016, the Utah Department of Health launched a media campaign, Stop the Opidemic, to educate the public about how to use prescription pain medication safely (visit [] for more information). UDOH also launched a statewide provider education intervention where physicians have the opportunity to receive CMEs for participation in small and large group presentations. In 2009, the Utah Pharmaceutical Drug Crime Project was established to further efforts to reduce prescription drug overdose deaths. This project works with law enforcement and other organizations on initiatives such as the National Take Back Days, which collect thousands of pounds of unused medications, turned in by community members who have cleaned out their medicine cabinets. For information about where to dispose of unused prescriptions use the [ drop-off locator]. In 2010, Utah State Legislature passed House Bill 28, requiring all prescribers of controlled substances to register to use the Utah Controlled Substance Database, take a tutorial, and pass a test on the use of the database and the prescribing guidelines of controlled substances when applying for or renewing their license. In 2011, the Legislature passed Senate Bill 61, which requires prescribers renewing or applying for a controlled substance license to take four hours of controlled substance prescribing classes each licensing period. Information about this program can be found at: []. In 2013, the Utah State Legislature passed S.B. 214. This law requires certain controlled substance prescribers to complete at least four hours of continuing education as a requisite for license renewal and requires that at least 3.5 hours of the required continuing education hours be completed in controlled substance prescribing classes. In 2014, the Utah State Legislature passed the Good Samaritan Law (H.B. 11) and the Naloxone Law (H.B. 119). The Good Samaritan Law enables bystanders to report an overdose without fear of criminal prosecution for illegal possession of a controlled substance or illicit drug. The Naloxone Law permits physicians to prescribe naloxone to third parties (someone who is usually a caregiver or a potential bystander to a person at risk for an overdose). It also permits individuals to administer naloxone without legal liability. In 2015 and 2016, the Utah Department of Health received one-time funding to address prescription drug abuse, misuse, and overdose deaths by continuing data collection efforts to help target interventions, develop provider materials, increase naloxone awareness, expand public awareness efforts, and develop provider tools and resources to address prescription drug abuse.

Healthy People Objective: Prevent an increase in poisoning deaths among all persons

U.S. Target: 13.2 deaths per 100,000 population
State Target: 12.9 per 100,000 population

Date Indicator Content Last Updated: 11/20/2018

Other Views

The information provided above is from the Department of Health's Center for Health Data IBIS-PH web site ( The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: " Retrieved Tue, 24 September 2019 2:40:43 from Department of Health, Center for Health Data, Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health Web site: ".

Content updated: Thu, 20 Jun 2019 13:03:27 MDT