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Florida Opioid Summary

Revised March 2019

Opioid-Related Overdose Deaths

In 2017, there were 3,245 overdose deaths involving opioids in Florida—a rate of 16.3 deaths per 100,000 persons, compared to the national rate of 14.6 deaths per 100,000 persons.

The greatest increase in opioid deaths was seen in cases involving synthetic opioids (mainly fentanyl): a rise from 162 deaths in 2012 to 2,126 in 2017. Deaths involving heroin also increased in the same 5-year period: from 101 to 707 deaths. There were 1,272 deaths involving prescription opioids in 2017, an increase from 889 in 2014 (Figure 1).

See text Figure 1. Number of overdose deaths involving opioids in Florida, by opioid category. Drug categories presented are not mutually exclusive, and deaths might have involved more than one substance. Source: CDC WONDER.

Opioid Pain Reliever Prescriptions

In 2017, Florida providers wrote 60.9 opioid prescriptions for every 100 persons (Figure 2), compared to the average U.S. rate of 58.7 prescriptions. This is the lowest rate since 2006 when this data became available (CDC).

The rate of overdose deaths involving opioid prescriptions rose significantly from 1999 through 2010. From 2010 through 2015 the rate declined by half from 8.2 to 4.6 deaths per 100,000 persons. Since then, the rate has risen to 6.0 deaths per 100,000 persons in 2017.

See text Figure 2. Florida rate of overdose deaths involving prescription opioids and the opioid prescribing rate. Source: CDC and CDC WONDER.

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS)

NAS or neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome (NOWS) may occur when a pregnant woman uses drugs such as opioids during pregnancy. A recent national study showed a fivefold increase in the incidence of NAS/NOWS between 2004 and 2014, from 1.5 cases per 1,000 hospital births to 8.0 cases per 1,000 hospital births. That is one baby born with NAS/NOWS every 15 minutes in the United States. During the same period, hospital costs for NAS/NOWSS births increased from $91 million to $563 million, after adjusting for inflation (Figure 3).

Florida reported 2,320 cases of NAS/NOWS in 2016 among Medicaid recipients. This was a more than 54 percent increase since 2012 when there were 1,506 cases of NAS/NOWS reported (Florida Agency for Health Care Administration)

See textFigure 3. NAS/NOWS Incidence Rate and Hospital Costs for Treatment in the United States. Source: T N.A. Winkelman, et al., 2018.

HIV Prevalence and HIV Diagnoses Attributed to Injection Drug Use (IDU)

See textFigure 4. Florida: Estimated percent of male vs. female with new HIV diagnoses, by transmission category, 2016. Source: CDC and www.AIDSVU.org.
  • U.S. Incidence: In 2016, 9 percent (3,480) of the 39,589 new diagnoses of HIV in the United States were attributed to IDU. Among males, 6.3 percent (2,530) of new cases were transmitted via IDU or male-to-male contact and IDU. Among females, 2.3 percent (950) were transmitted via IDU (CDC).
  • U.S. Prevalence: In 2016, 991,447 Americans were living with a diagnosed HIV infection—a rate of 306.6 cases per 100,000 persons. Among males, 19.9 percent (150,4661) contracted HIV from IDU or male-to-male contact and IDU while 21 percent (50,154) of females were living with HIV attributed to IDU (CDC).
  • State Incidence: Of the new HIV cases in 2016, 4,940 occurred in Florida. Among males, 5.2 percent of new HIV cases were attributed to IDU or male-to-male contact and IDU. Among females, 8.6 percent of new HIV cases were attributed to IDU (Figure 4)(AIDSVu).
  • State Prevalence: In 2015, an estimated 106,585 persons were living with a diagnosed HIV infection in Florida—a rate of 615 cases per 100,000 persons. Of those, 12.2 percent of male cases were attributed to IDU or male-to-male contact and IDU. Among females, 13.3 percent were living with HIV attributed to IDU (AIDSVu).

Hepatitis C (HCV) Prevalence and HCV Diagnoses Attributed to Injection Drug Use1

  • U.S. Incidence: In 2016, there were an estimated 41,200 new cases of acute HCV2 (CDC). Among case reports that contain information about IDU, 68.6 percent indicated use of injection drugs (CDC).
  • U.S. Prevalence: An estimated 2.4 million Americans are living with HCV based on 2013-2016 annual averages (CDC).
  • State Incidence: There were approximately 236 new cases of acute HCV (1.1 per 100,000 persons) reported in Florida in 2016 (CDC).
  • State Prevalence: In Florida, there are an estimated 153,300 persons living with Hepatitis C (2013-2016 annual average), a rate of 970 cases per 100,000 persons (HepVu).

Additional Resources

NIH RePORTER FY2018 NIH-funded projects related to opioid use and use disorder in Florida: 14


  1. Not all states collect or report data on the incidence or prevalence of Hepatitis C or on how Hepatitis C is transmitted. When available, the data will be included.
  2. Actual acute cases estimated to be 13.9 times the number of reported cases in any year.

This page was last updated March 2019

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