About Drug Overdose Data
This page contains general information about State Unintentional Drug Overdose Reporting System (SUDORS) data, and measures developed by the Iowa Health and Human Services (HHS) Department.
What do these SUDORS data tell us?
• The number and rates of unintentional and undetermined overdose deaths in Iowa by year and gender.
• The segments of population that may be at higher risk for undetermined and unintentional overdose deaths.
• The circumstances which may provide context surrounding overdose deaths.
• The specific substances which contributing to overdose death as well as polysubstance overdose trends.
How can we use this data?
• To inform the public about unintentional and undetermined overdose deaths.
• To educate partners about location-specific circumstances.
• To inform drug overdose prevention efforts in Iowa.
• To alert medical examiner and coroner offices, public health professionals and other stakeholders of newly emerging drug threats.
What can these data not tell us?
• The total burden of unintentional and undetermined overdose deaths in a given population.
• The source of the data.
• SUDORS incorporates multiple data sources to capture the who, what, where, when, and why of the overdose death. These sources include:
- Death Certificates
- Medical Examiner/Coroner Reports
- Postmortem Toxicology
What time period of data is available?
• Unintentional and undetermined overdose mortality measures are published on the Iowa Public Health Tracking portal annually, following the release data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
• There is a six-month lag before data become available.
• The 2020 data represents the last 6 months of the year, with the full year’s data available at a future date. The 2021 data represents the complete year.
How are substance-involved deaths identified?
Scans of the text-based cause of death information, reviews of medical examiner/coroner reports, and ICD-10 codes are used to identify unintentional and undetermined drug overdose deaths. Hospitalization data are collected by the Iowa Hospital Association on behalf of Iowa HHS in accordance with Iowa Code section 135.166. The following ICD-10 codes are used for cause of death:
• Accidental poisoning by drugs: X40-X44
• Drug poisoning of undetermined intent: Y10-Y14
What are the limitations of the data?
• Data are not appropriate for estimating the total burden of substance-involved health issues.
• Data are not provided for Iowa residents who die outside the state, so rates may be underestimated.
• Data presented are only those who died in Iowa with available sources (medical examiner, toxicology, and death certificates). Counts for demographic data and month of death may not add to the total due to missing information.
• 2020 data is last six months only.
• Values <6 suppressed for confidentiality.
Where can I find more technical information about the data?
Visit the CDC SUDORS Dashboard to learn more about Unintentional and Undetermined overdose deaths.
About ED Overdose Data
Tracking emergency department (ED) drug overdose data involves collecting data about the number of emergency hospital admissions due to a substance overdose. This page provides general information about ED data and measures developed by the Iowa Public Health Tracking program. Contact Us for more information about these data.
What do these data tell us?
• The numbers and rates of unintentional drug overdose in Iowa by year with demographic and behavioral data.
• If unintentional drug overdose deaths are going up or down over time.
• If a segment of a population is at higher risk for unintentional drug overdose.
How we can use these data?
• To inform the public about unintentional drug overdose.
• For program planning and evaluation by state and local partners.
What these data cannot tell us?
• The causes of unintentional drug overdose, or the cause of hospitalizations.
• The total burden of unintentional drug overdose in a population.
• The number of people who are hospitalized due to unintentional drug overdose. Personal identifiers are removed from the hospital discharge data before analysis. Patients who have multiple hospitalizations cannot be identified.
What is the source of the data?
Hospitalization data are collected by the Iowa Hospital Association on behalf of Iowa HHS in accordance with Iowa Code section 135.166. The following ICD-10 codes are used for emergency department admissions:
• ICD-10-CM poisoning. The heroin, opioid, and stimulant definitions are included in the all drugs category, thus everything included in those queries is included in the all drug category.
• T36-T50: Poisoning by drugs, medicaments and biological substances
ED visits for suspected drug overdose consider both unintentional and undetermined intent.