The drug overdose crisis is one of the biggest threats the United States faces, and the state of Colorado is no exception to this devastating trend. In 2016, more than 900 people died of drug overdoses in Colorado, which is 300 people more than the number of deaths in auto accidents in the state that year.
Preliminary statistics indicate the 2017 overdose death total will increase in Colorado as well. Experts say pharmaceutical opioids are the cause of about two-thirds of overdose deaths. These include oxycodone, morphine, codeine and Percocet. The remaining third of overdose deaths are from heroin.
While the Denver and Colorado Springs areas saw more than 100 deaths each due to heroin and opioid overdoses, some of the least-populated areas in the state also endured a disheartening number of overdose-related deaths. These are some of the key findings in the Colorado Health Institute’s recent report, “Death by Drugs: Colorado at Record High.”
Opioid Deaths Rising in Colorado
Heroin- and opioid-related deaths rose at a rapid pace during the last few years. The Colorado Department of Public Health reported that deaths caused by heroin in Denver have shot up a whopping 933 percent since 2002. The figures also indicate a 759 percent increase in heroin-related deaths from 2001 to 2016 in Colorado overall. Further findings indicate other opioid related-deaths went up 128 percent during the last 15 years.
The 912 deaths in 2016 indicate 16.1 heroin- and opioid-related overdose deaths per 100,000 residents of Colorado. This is an 83 percent increase from the 2001 rate.
Colorado Fatal Drug Overdoses by County
For 2016, the 16.1 overdose deaths per 100,000 residents rate is only slightly higher than the state rate in 2014 and 2015, and it is admittedly lower than the national average of 19.8 drug fatalities per 100,000 residents that year.
Still, these numbers offer little comfort when considering the rate of fatalities within Colorado by county. In fact, when taking a closer look at the death rate resulting from drug overdoses by county, the underlying increase in state overdose fatalities becomes even more apparent.
In El Paso County, 141 people died in 2016 because of drug overdoses, while Denver County saw a similar number (138 overdose-induced deaths). While the numbers are lower in other Colorado counties, this is only because the total number of residents is smaller when compared to more-populated regions.
The fatality rates in smaller counties are remarkably higher than those in populated places when measured per resident. For example, in Huerfano County, there were only six reported deaths because of drug overdoses in 2016, but since the population is 6,700. That means the death rate for this county is an unsettling 152.6 per 100,000 residents.
Below, we have formed two brief lists to provide a glimpse into the extent of the issue within each county and the state of Colorado as a whole. The lists feature the four Colorado counties with the largest numbers of fatal drug overdoses and the four with the highest death rates for 2016.
Colorado Counties with the Largest Numbers of Overdose Deaths in 2016
- El Paso County experienced 141 overdose deaths. With a population of 690,207 residents, the county’s overdose fatality rate for the year was 20.4.
- Denver County saw 138 deaths because of drug overdoses. Maintaining a population of 693,292, the county’s death rate was 19.2.
- Adams County sustained a total number of 92 deaths. With a population of 497,673 residents, the overdose death rate was 18.6.
- Jefferson County‘s population of 571,711 saw 91 overdose fatalities, marking a death rate of 16.4.
Colorado Counties with the Highest Overdose Death Rates in 2016
- Huerfano County had 6,642 residents and saw six drug fatalities, but the death rate per resident was 152.6.
- With a populace of 6,497, Rio Blanco County had three deaths and saw a death rate of 52.2.
- Las Animas County had a population of 14,082 and saw eight deaths, indicating a death rate of 50.9.
- Montezuma County experienced 10 deaths among its population of 26,906. This makes its death rate 42.8.
Consequences of Addiction
As the statistics show, opioid and heroin are far more common than most people think. Not only has opioid use risen in the past decade, but accidental overdoses on prescription opioid painkillers have more than doubled since 1999.
Overdose fatalities and addiction cases are destroying the lives of individuals and families across Colorado and the United States. As the problem worsens, more people are seeking professional drug help in Colorado.
With a concentration on expanding awareness and creating innovative treatment options, Colorado addiction treatment centers and Colorado heroin rehabs continue to demonstrate their commitment to making the state a safer and healthier place.
Finding Colorado Heroin Rehab Here or Out of State
To treat an addiction to heroin or opioids, it is imperative to address both the physical and emotional health of each individual. If the addiction started due to a prescription that was supposed to address symptoms of physical pain, it is crucial to help individuals find a way to deal with the pain without using these substances.
People struggling with addiction also must address any mental and emotional issues they have tried to bury with substance abuse. In many cases, individuals with physiological issues attempt to use drugs as a form of self-medication. Even if an individual does not have any psychological disorders, he or she needs to find a way to change behaviors to live a fulfilling, healthy life.
Reflections Recovery Center is located in the neighboring state of Arizona and can help fill the void that Colorado treatment centers leave. With a reputation for helping individuals rebuild their lives and mend their relationships, Reflections is an attractive choice for a number of families who are seeking Colorado heroin addiction help.