Dramatic Rise in Opioid Hospitalizations Among Women

Pauline Anderson

June 21, 2017

The rate of opioid-related hospital stays increased 64% across the United States during a 10-year period, while the rate of opioid-related emergency department (ED) visits nearly doubled, a new report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality found.

The increased rate of hospitalizations was particularly dramatic among women. Between 2005 and 2014, the rate of opioid-related hospitalization jumped by 75% for women compared to 55% for men.

The new statistical brief, based on data from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP), follows a previous brief. That brief reported that the rate of opioid-related inpatient stays across the United States in 2014 varied more than fivefold and that the rate of opioid-related ED visits varied more than tenfold.

The most recent brief presents data on the rate of opioid-related hospital inpatient stays and ED visits by sex and age group from 2005 to 2014.

In 2005, the rate of opioid-related inpatient stays was higher in males than in females, at 145.6 vs 127.8 per 100,000 population. But between 2005 and 2014, the rate increased 55% for males and 75% for females. By 2014, the rates for males and females were virtually identical (225.0 vs 224.1 per 100,000 population).

As for opioid-related ED visits, in 2005 the rate was higher in males than in females (99.9 vs. 78.6 per 100,000 population). In the next decade or so, the rate almost doubled for both sexes, although in 2014, the rate was still higher among males still than among females (202.8 vs 153.2 per 100,000 population).

During the years of analysis, the rate of opioid-related ED visits increased faster than the rate of opioid-related inpatient stays for both males and females.

In 2014, the rate of opioid-related inpatient stays was higher among females in 33 of 45 US states. The average across these states was 221.2 per 100,000 population. It was higher among males in 11 states and the District of Columbia, at an average of 339.9 per 100,000 population.

Also in 2014, the rate of opioid-related ED visits was higher among males in 23 of 30 states. The average across these states of 226.0 per 100,000 population. It was higher among females in seven states, at an average 87.5 per 100,000 population.

For opioid-related inpatient stays, for patients aged 25 to 44 years and 45 to 64 years, the rates were highest and were nearly identical from 2005 to 2014. The next highest rates were among patients aged 65 years and older.

For opioid-related ED visits, the rate was highest among those aged 25 to 44 years, followed by those aged 45 to 64 years and 1 to 24 years.

Between 2005 and 2014, the rate of opioid-related ED visits increased faster than the rate of opioid-related inpatient stays for all age groups.

The rate of opioid-related inpatient stays exceeded the rate of opioid-related ED visits among patients younger than 1 year, among those aged 45 to 64 years, and for those aged 65 years and older over the course of the years studied. For patients aged 1 to 24 years, the rate of opioid-related ED visits was higher during this period.

Among those aged 25 to 44 years, the rate of opioid-related inpatient stays was higher than the rate of opioid-related ED visits from 2005 to 2012, but by 2013, the rate of opioid-related ED visits was higher.

Individual States

In 2014, the rate of opioid-related ED visits was highest among patients aged 25 to 44 years in all 30 states for which data were available.

Four states ― Iowa, Nebraska, Texas, and Wyoming ― consistently ranked among the lowest rates with respect to opioid-related inpatient stays across all patient sex and age groups. Similarly, Georgia, Kansas, South Carolina, and South Dakota were among the states ranked lowest for all but one sex or age group.

Massachusetts consistently ranked as having the highest rates of opioid-related inpatient stays across all patient sex and age groups. Connecticut, Maryland, and Washington ranked among the states with the highest rates in all but one sex or age group.

Some states had consistently high rates or consistently low rates of inpatient stays for some age and sex groups. Others had high rates for some patient subgroups and low rates for other subgroups.

Arkansas and Iowa consistently ranked among the states with the lowest rates of opioid-related ED visits across all patient sex and age groups. Similarly, Georgia, Kansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota ranked among the states with the lowest rates in all but one sex and age group.

Maryland consistently ranked as having among the highest rates of opioid-related ED visits across all patient sex and age groups. Massachusetts and Rhode Island ranked among the states with the highest rates in all but one sex or age group.

As with inpatient stays, some states had consistently high rates or consistently low rates of ED visits for some age and sex groups. However, other states had high rates for some patient subgroups and low rates for others.

The estimates in the statistical brief are based on data from the HCUP 2005-2014 National Inpatient Sample, 2005-2014 Nationwide Emergency Department Sample, 2014 State Inpatient Databases, and 2014 State Emergency Department Databases.

The data were assembled in the HCUP Fast Stats, an interactive, online tool that provides easy access to the quarterly HCUP-based statistics for select state and national health information.

HCUP. Statistical Brief 224. June 2017. Full text

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