Allegheny County hoped the tide had turned on the opioid epidemic. Early data suggests it may be surging again
The number of Allegheny County residents dying of opioid overdoses is rising again, after a drop of 40% in 2018 had many health experts hoping the tide of the epidemic had turned. The most recent data shows that the county had a 15% increase in overdose deaths in 2019. The 564 overdose deaths in 2019 were the third highest yearly total, according to data from Overdose Free PA. In 2016 and 2017, there were 650 and 737 total overdose deaths respectively. And the epidemic may only be getting worse in 2020, according to overdose data provided by the city of Pittsburgh, the county health department and the nonprofit Prevention Point Pittsburgh.
During the first five months of 2020 Allegheny County recorded a 28% increase in the total number of times emergency responders administered naloxone for an overdose compared to the first five months of 2019.
Pittsburgh recorded a 50% increase in overdose calls during that same time period.