Overdose Death Maps

In 2018, an average of 41 people died each day from overdoses involving prescription opioids, totaling nearly 15,000 deaths.1  While prescription opioids were involved in 32% of all opioid overdose deaths in 2018, there was a 13.5% decrease in prescription opioid-involved death rates from 2017 to 2018.

  • Rates decreased in males and females, persons aged 15–64 years, non-Hispanic whites, Hispanics, non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Natives, and across all urbanization levels.
  • Rates remained stable in the Northeast and decreased in the Midwest, South, and the West.
  • Seventeen states experienced declines in prescription opioid-involved death rates, with no states experiencing significant increases.
  • The largest relative decrease occurred in Ohio (–40.5%), whereas, the largest absolute decrease occurred in West Virginia (–4.1 per 100,000) which also had the highest rate in 2018 (13.1 per 100,000).
Calculating Prescription Opioid Overdose Deaths

When looking at overdose deaths from prescription opioids, CDC analyzes the following:

  • Natural opioids: Pain medications like morphine and codeine
  • Semi-synthetic opioids: Pain medications like oxycodone, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, and oxymorphone
  • Methadone: A synthetic opioid used to treat pain, but it can also be provided through opioid treatment programs to treat opioid use disorders

Current information reported about overdose deaths does not distinguish pharmaceutical fentanyl from illegally-made fentanyl. In order to account for increases in illicitly manufactured fentanyl, CDC Injury Center separates synthetic opioids (other than methadone) from prescription opioid death calculations.

2017-2018 Overdose Map

2016-2017 Overdose Map

2015-2016 Overdose Map


  1. Wilson N, Kariisa M, Seth P, et al. Drug and Opioid-Involved Overdose Deaths—United States, 2017-2018. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2020;69:290-297.
CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain