How The Opioid Epidemic Affects California

The number of people dependent on opioids is increasing, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 165,000 people died in the U.S. between 1999 and 2014.

Earlier this month, the Kaiser Family Foundation released several sets of data regarding opioid overdose deaths in 2014. (Kaiser Health News, which produces California Healthline, is an editorially independent program of the foundation.)

According to this data, 45 percent of all the overdose deaths in California — 2,024 — were due to opioids. This rate of 5 deaths per 100,000 people was below the national rate of 9 and indicated a 2-percent increase in the rate of opioid overdose deaths in the state from the previous year. New Hampshire and South Carolina both saw 98-percent increases.

Looking at prescription opioids specifically, there were 1,449 overdose deaths in California. The rate of such deaths was also lower in the state than the national average.