Tracking Opioid-Related Hospitalizations in Virginia

Widespread misuse of opioids has led to a spike in overdoses. Opioid-related overdoses kill 90 people in the U.S. each day, and opioid poisonings cost the nation more than $20 billion annually in emergency department and hospital care.1 What’s more, people who are hospitalized due to an opioid-related condition are four times more likely to die now than they were in 2000.2 To help better understand this alarming trend, the VHHA Analytics team tracked more than 100 ICD-10 codes in the statewide inpatient database to assess the scope of opioid-related hospitalizations in the Commonwealth. Opioid-related hospital stays involving misuse of prescription pain relievers or illicit opioids such as heroin decreased in Virginia from the first quarter of 2016 to the fourth quarter of 2017. The decrease in the number of opioid-related hospital stays has not been proportional across all regions in Virginia, however. Opioid-related hospitalizations decreased sharply in Eastern, Northern, and Northwestern Virginia. In contrast, Southwest Virginia, which accounts for roughly one-fourth of all opioid-related hospitalization in Virginia, experienced a significant increase in hospitalizations during 2017. (5/4)