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PHC4 Releases Three-Year Trends in Hospitalizations Related to Substance Use

Harrisburg, PA – October 26, 2020 – PHC4 has updated its data on opioid-related hospitalizations and has extended the analyses to include alcohol, cocaine and amphetamines. Maternal stays with opioid use and newborn stays with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) are also included. Statewide trends (2017-2019) and county-specific data (2019) are reported.

“Results from today’s release will serve as a baseline for the continued study of substance use during and after the COVID-19 crisis—key issues of concern to healthcare professionals during this time,” said Joe Martin, PHC4’s Executive Director. “Adding data on alcohol and other substance types is especially important now as the COVID-19 pandemic could be particularly stressful for those struggling with substance use disorders.”

Key findings:

  • Among the substances analyzed, the largest decrease in hospitalization rates was for opioid overdose, a 29.7% decrease. The number of hospital admissions for opioid overdose dropped from 3,500 in 2017 to 2,667 in 2018 and 2,468 in 2019.
  • The largest increase in hospitalization rates was for amphetamine overdose (68% increase), although the number of hospitalizations for amphetamine overdose was relatively small (391 in 2019) when compared to opioids and cocaine.
  • The number of hospital admissions for cocaine overdose rose from 944 in 2017 to 1,204 in 2018 and dropped to 1,073 in 2019.
  • The highest number of hospitalizations was for those related to alcohol use disorder (over 60,000 a year for each of the three years studied).
  • The hospitalization rate of maternal stays with opioid use decreased 2% between 2017 and 2019. The number of maternal stays with opioid use dropped from 2,709 in 2017 to 2,565 in 2019.
  • The hospitalization rate of newborn stays with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) decreased 12% between 2017 and 2019. The number of newborn stays with NAS dropped from 1,879 to 1,610 during the same period.
  • In addition to statewide hospitalization counts, county-level rates for 2019 are also reported.

The findings are available on PHC4’s website at You can also link to this information through social media on Facebook and Twitter.

PHC4 is an independent state agency charged with collecting, analyzing and reporting information that can be used to improve the quality and restrain the cost of health care in Pennsylvania.

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Harrisburg, PA 17101

Phone: (717) 232-6787
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