Drug overdose (poisoning) is now the leading cause of unintentional injury death in the United States, causing more deaths than motor vehicle crashes. Opioids – both prescription painkillers and heroin – are responsible for most of those deaths. The number of Californians affected by prescription and non-prescription opioid misuse and overdose is substantial, with rates varying significantly across counties, and even within counties.
In Orange County, the rate of opioid-related emergency department (ED) visits has increased 141% since 2005 and there were 7,457 opioid overdose/abuse cases treated in the ED between 2011 and 2015. Importantly, seven of every 10 overdose deaths investigated by the Orange County Sheriff-Coroner during this five-year period involved opioids. Learn more in the “2017 Opioid Overdose & Death in Orange County” report.