The Opioid Epidemic: Numbers That Matter

This is the second post in a blog series entitled “The Opioid Epidemic,” a collaboration between UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences highlighting the doctors, researchers and nurses making significant efforts to reduce diversion and misuse of prescription opioids. For more information about the series or resources to help with drug addiction, click here.   

Overdose deaths surpassed the number of car crash deaths in the United States, with 42,000 deaths in 2014. Western Pennsylvania has been exceptionally hard hit, with overdose deaths increasing 14-fold in the past 35 years.

The University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health is compiling some of the most comprehensive statistics on the problem to help guide public health interventions and law enforcement efforts.

Jeanine Buchanich, Ph.D., deputy director of Pitt Public Health’s Center for Occupational Biostatistics and Epidemiology is leading this project.