Emergency Department Visits

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) Office of Epidemiology collects and analyzes health data from emergency departments (EDs) to conduct public health surveillance. This page summarizes Virginia residents who sought care at EDs for unintentional overdose as identified by the chief complaint or discharge diagnosis.

Note:Emergency department utilization in Virginia decreased during the COVID-19 pandemic. Use caution when comparing 2020 statistics to other years.

Complete a quick survey to share your experience using overdose ED visit data.

Additional ED overdose data, including monthly and annual overdose ED visits by city/county, health district, health region, and drug type, are on the Drug Overdose Emergency Department (ED) Visits website.


About the Data

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) Office of Epidemiology collects and analyzes health data from participating emergency departments (EDs) in Virginia. All non-federal acute care hospitals and free-standing emergency care centers report ED visit data to VDH.  

Data are for clinical care of patients in healthcare settings. Public health surveillance is a secondary use. When interpreting drug overdose ED data, please consider syndromic surveillance data limitations. 

Case Definitions: Drug overdose ED visits are identified using key terms in the chief complaint (reason for visit) and discharge diagnosis codes. ED visits are categorized into one or more of the following drug overdose case definitions: 1) all drugs, 2) opioid or unspecified substance, 3) heroin, and 4) stimulant. The all drug case definition was updated in June 2022. 

Measures: ED visit counts and rates per 10,000 ED visits. Rates allow comparison over time and between different groups, such as age, sex, and geographic areas.  

Geography: The overdose ED data dashboard includes ED visit data for Virginia residents. VDH assigns city/county and health district using the patient’s residential zip code.  ED visit counts are combined for certain cities and counties due to some zip codes spanning more than one locality.  

Suppression: VDH suppresses counts of 1 to 4 and rates with numerators of 1 to 4 to maintain confidentiality and accurate rate calculations. Suppressed statistics are indicated with an asterisk (*).