Accidental drug overdose deaths in Connecticut, 2012–2018: The rise of polysubstance detection?

Taeho Greg Rhee, Joseph S. Ross, Robert A. Rosenheck, Lauretta E. Grau, David A. Fiellin, William C. Becker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


Objectives: To examine trends in polysubstance detection associated with drug-related overdose deaths in Connecticut. Methods: We used 2012–2018 data provided by Connecticut's Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) on accidental overdose deaths. We estimated annual trends, standardizing the number of deaths per 100,000 Connecticut residents each year. We then conducted stratified analyses by polysubstance use status. We also examined the numbers of deaths involving fentanyl in a separate analysis. We obtained data in April 2018, and statistical analyses were performed from April to September 2018. Results: The rate of overdose deaths in Connecticut increased from 9.9 per 100,000 residents in 2012 to 28.5 per 100,000 residents in 2018—a 221 % increase—with the majority occurring among persons aged 35–64 (65.3 %), men (73.9 %), and non-Hispanic whites (78.5 %). Among deaths involving fentanyl, the overall deaths escalated from 5.2 deaths per 100,000 residents in 2015 to 21.3 deaths per 100,000 residents in 2018, and more than 50% of these fentanyl-related deaths involved polysubstance use. Conclusions: Connecticut experienced a more-than doubling of opioid-involved overdose deaths, largely driven by fentanyl and polysubstance use. The role of polysubstance use should be considered in efforts toward reducing opioid-related overdose incidents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number107671
JournalDrug and alcohol dependence
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Connecticut
  • Fentanyl
  • Mortality
  • Opioid
  • Overdose
  • Polysubstance use

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

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