Addictions, Drug & Alcohol Institute

New ADAI Report: Overdose Deaths Involving Prescription Opioids in WA, 2010-2021

New ADAI report: Overdose deaths involving pharmaceutical opioids in WA State from 2010-2021

This new report by Caleb Banta-Green, PhD, MPH, MSW and Jason Williams, PhD of the ADAI Center for Community-Engaged Drug Education, Epidemiology & Research (CEDEER) examines key indicators related to pharmaceutical opioids including sales data and overdose death rates.

Key Points

  • Prescription opioid overdose deaths declined from their peak in 2006, but are higher than 1999-2001.
  • Most recent prescription opioid overdose deaths also involved illicit opioids.
  • Prescription opioid sales have declined since 2011, but are overall unchanged in comparison to 1999-2001.

Clinical Takeaways:

Diverse providers should offer naloxone to patients and clients who use opioids and non-judgmentally educate:

  • people with prescriptions about the potential risks of poisoning with opioids.
  • people who may be misusing opioids or have opioid use disorder about effective treatments and harm reduction services.

Citation: Banta-Green C, Williams J. Overdose Deaths Involving Pharmaceutical Opioids in Washington State from 2010-2021. Seattle, WA: Addictions, Drug & Alcohol Institute, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, School of Medicine, University of Washington, November 2022. URL: