16 Leading Causes of Death in Wisconsin (Pain Pills are Dead-Last)

To directly rebuff the claim of a “prescription-opioid death epidemic,” I demonstrate such deaths are -not- even in the Top 15 causes of death in Wisconsin:

16 Leading Causes of Death in Wisconsin[1]

1st Place – Heart Disease: 11,471 = 22.3% of Total Deaths[2]

2nd Place – Cancer: 11,424 = 22.3% of Total Deaths

3rd Place – Unintentional Injuries: 3,186 = 6.2% of Total Deaths

4th Place – Chronic Lower-Respiratory Disease: 2,841 = 5.5% of Total Deaths

5th Place – Cerebro-Vascular Disease: 2,616 = 5.1% of Total Deaths

6th Place – Alzheimer’s Disease: 2,616 = 5.1% of Total Deaths

7th Place – Diabetes: 1,382 = 2.7% of Total Deaths

8th Place – Pneumonia or Influenza: 1,051 = 2% of Total Deaths

9th Place – Nephritis: 995 = 1.9% of Total Deaths

10th Place – Suicide: 874 = 1.7% of Total Deaths

NOTE: Although the 11th- Through 16th-Ranked Causes of Death were not copied directly (due to being outside the top ten of the WisDHS mortality report), they -were- imputed from official data within that same report.

11th Place – All Drug Overdoses:[3] 873 = 1.7% of Total Deaths

12th Place – Parkinson’s Disease: 587[4] = 1.1% of Total Deaths

13th Place – Prescription Drug Overdoses:[5] 349 = 0.7% of Total Deaths

14th Place – Heroin Overdoses:[6] 299 = 0.6% of Total Deaths

15th Place – Homicide:[7] 183 = 0.3% of Total Deaths

16th Place – Prescription Opioid Overdoses:[8] 174 = 0.3% of Total Deaths

—References—
[1] These totals are taken directly from, “Table 2: Leading causes of death by age groups, 2015, Wisconsin,” on page 6 of, “Annual Wisconsin Death Report, 2015.” Office of Health Informatics, within WisDHS. Released September 2016. https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/publications/p01170-16.pdf
[2] Total deaths in Wisconsin were 51,251 in 2015, taken directly from “Key Findings” on page 2 of, “Annual Wisconsin Death Report, 2015.” Office of Health Informatics, within WisDHS. Released September 2016. https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/publications/p01129.pdf
[3] Calculated from prevalence rates identified within the section, “Other drug-related deaths,” on page 37 of, “Wisconsin Epidemiological Profile on Alcohol and Other Drugs, 2016.” Joint publication of WisDHS and UW-Madison Population Health Institute. Released November 2016. https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/publications/p4/p45718-16.pdf
-Calculation: (5,700,000 population / 100,000 incidence) * 15.3 per 100K = 57 * 15.3 = 872.1 (round down) = 872 Wisconsinites died from drug complications or overdose in 2015.
[4] Sum of the prevalences among age groups. Refer to “Table 2” within Citation 1.
[5] Calculated from respective prevalence rates from, “Figure 16: Distribution of drug overdose by drug type, 2015, Wisconsin,” on page 25 of, “Annual Wisconsin Death Report, 2015.” Office of Health Informatics, within WisDHS. Released September 2016. https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/publications/p01170-16.pdf
-Calculation: 873 drug deaths * (0.2 RX opioids + 0.05 RX benzos + 0.15 combination of RX and other drugs) = 873 * 0.4 = 349 deaths from prescription drugs
[6] “Wisconsin Heroin Brief, 2007-2014.” Office of Health Informatics, within WisDHS. Released March 2016. https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/publications/p01238.pdf
2015 was extrapolated from 2014 data, by using a highly conservative estimate of 12-percent heroin-mortality growth.
-Calculation: 267 base year (2014) * 1.12 change = 299 (2015)
[7] Sum of the prevalences among age groups. Refer to “Table 2” within Citation 1.
[8] Calculated from a 20-percent prevalence rate from, “Figure 16: Distribution of drug overdose by drug type, 2015, Wisconsin,” on page 25 of, “Annual Wisconsin Death Report, 2015.” Office of Health Informatics, within WisDHS. Released September 2016. https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/publications/p01170-16.pdf
-Calculation: 873 drug deaths * 0.2 RX opioids = 174 deaths from prescription opioids

NOTE: It has come to my attention that the website “World Life Expectancy” shows an unranked list of Wisconsin mortality, saying only, “These are the top 15 causes [in no particular order].” [No link shall be provided, due to not wanting to promote a “competitor” in this policy sphere.]

Furthermore, its map-oriented interface is less straightforward than just giving the absolute and relative numbers. By contrast, I rank these causes numerically; show my calculations; and use terms that align with Health Department reports. -JPO