Missouri sees decline in opioid deaths


Opioid deaths in Missouri showed a decline in 2019, the first time in four years, the opioid death rate has fallen.

According to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, opioid deaths dropped 3.4 percent between 2018 and 2019. The state saw 1,132 opioid deaths in 2018, but only 1,094 in 2019. From 2015 to 2016, the state saw a 35 percent increase in opioid deaths, followed by a 5 percent increase in 2017 and a 19 percent increase in 2018.

“We are encouraged by the decline, and it shows a lot of hard work by many people in collaboration throughout Missouri. But it’s important to remember when looking at data that behind every number is a person and their unique story,” said Dr. Randall Williams, director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. “One overdose death is too many. Those who have lost a loved one to an opioid overdose can attest to that. There is still much work to be done.”

Demographically, black males were the largest race-gender group experiencing opioid overdose deaths. Black males saw a 15 percent increase in opioid deaths, for a rate of 72.15 per 100,000. That rate is almost four times higher than the state average of 18.82 per 100,000. While male opioid deaths were second-highest, at a rate of 20.36 per 100,000, but those deaths still declined in 2019 by 12 percent. Black females had an opioid death rate of 17.69 per 100,000, but also saw a 15 percent decline over the previous year. White females showed almost no change from the previous year and had the lowest opioid death rate of 11.31 per 100,000.

The information was based on provisional counts of overdose deaths across the United States released by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention. Nationwide, statistics show overdose deaths rose three percent between 2018 and 2019.