Once again, Colorado follows national heroin overdose trends

March 4, 2015
Photo: Women and Men heroin deaths 1999-2013
*For the years 2003 and 2007, fewer than 3 women were reported as dying of a heroin overdose.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday that four times more men died of a heroin overdose in 2013 than women. Colorado follows that trend -- and a few others -- very closely.

Nationally, the rate of prescription overdose deaths has slowed to an increase of 2 percent each year between 2006 and 2013. In Colorado, the rate of prescription overdose deaths also slowed during the same period. 

But unlike the rest of the nation, Colorado saw more prescription drug overdose deaths from 2010 to 2013, not less. This seems to contradict research that says states with medical marijuana laws have lower rates of prescription drug overdose.

Photo: Colorado Overdose National overdose
On the left, Colorado's rates of opioid overdose death. On the right, national rates of opioid overdose deaths from the CDC.

Many Coloradans are working to address the abuse of both prescription drugs and heroin.

A House committee unanimously approved a bill Tuesday to further expand access to naloxone, a drug to reverse heroin or prescription drug overdoses.

And earlier this month, Gov. John Hickenlooper was on hand to launch a public awareness campaign encouraging Coloradans to safely dispose of their prescription medications.