JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KFVS) - Overdose deaths in 2019 decreased from 2018 for the first year since 2015 in Missouri, according to the Department of Health and Senior Services.
The number of deaths due to opioid overdose decreased by 3.4 percent compared to the previous year.
From 2015 to 2016 there was a 35 percent increase in opioid overdose deaths in Missouri, followed by a 5 percent increase in 2017, and a 19 percent increase in 2018.
According to the Department, in 2018, the number of opioid overdose deaths in the state peaked at 1,132 deaths. In total for 2019, there were 1,094 opioid overdose deaths, with 224 heroin deaths and 870 opioid deaths that were non-heroin related.
Nearly half of these deaths were in the St. Louis area.
“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.”
According to DHSS, black males continued to be the most impacted race-gender group in Missouri when it comes to opioid overdoses. Despite a statewide decrease in opioid overdose deaths, black males experienced a 15 percent increase in deaths, resulting in an age-adjusted rate of 72.15 per 100,000.
They said this almost 4 times higher than the statewide age-adjusted rate of 18.82 per 100,000.
While white male deaths decreased by 12 percent, they have the second highest rate of 20.36. Black males experienced a 15 percent decrease from the previous year, resulting in a rate of 17.69.
The health department said the white female rate showed almost no change from 2018 and remains the lowest of the race-gender groups at 11.31 deaths per 100,000.
Nationwide, statistics from the CDC’s National Center for Health showed an increase of 3.0 percent from 2018 to 2019.