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Drug Overdose Death Data

Opioids—prescription and illicit—are the main driver of drug overdose deaths. Opioids were involved in 42,249 deaths in 2016, and opioid overdose deaths were five times higher in 2016 than 1999.

In 2016, the five states with the highest rates of death due to drug overdose were West Virginia (52.0 per 100,000), Ohio (39.1 per 100,000), New Hampshire (39.0 per 100,000), Pennsylvania (37.9 per 100,000) and (Kentucky (33.5 per 100,000).

Significant increases in drug overdose death rates from 2015 to 2016 were seen in the Northeast, Midwest and South Census Regions. States with statistically significant increases in drug overdose death rates included Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.1

State 2010 rate 2016 rate
West Virginia 28.9 52.0
Ohio 16.1 39.1
New Hampshire 11.8 39.0
District of Columbia 12.9 38.8
Pennsylvania 15.3 37.9
Kentucky 23.6 33.5
Maryland 11 33.2
Massachusetts 11 33.0
Delaware 16.6 30.8
Rhode Island 15.5 30.8
Maine 10.4 28.7
Connecticut 10.1 27.4
New Mexico 23.8 25.2
Tennessee 16.9 24.5
Michigan 13.9 24.4
Indiana 14.4 24.0
Florida 16.4 23.7
Missouri 17 23.6
New Jersey 9.8 23.2
Utah 16.9 22.4
Vermont 9.7 22.2
Louisiana 13.2 21.8
Nevada 20.7 21.7
Oklahoma 19.4 21.5
Arizona 17.5 20.3
North Carolina 11.4 19.7
Wisconsin 10.9 19.3
Illinois 10 18.9
South Carolina 14.6 18.1
New York 7.8 18.0
Wyoming 15 17.6
Alaska 11.6 16.8
Virginia 6.8 16.7
Colorado 12.7 16.6
Alabama 11.8 16.2
Idaho 11.8 15.2
Washington 13.1 14.5
Arkansas 12.5 14.0
Georgia 10.7 13.3
Hawaii 10.9 12.8
Minnesota 7.3 12.5
Mississippi 11.4 12.1
Oregon 12.9 11.9
Montana 12.9 11.7
California 10.6 11.2
Kansas 9.6 11.1
Iowa 8.6 10.6
North Dakota 3.4 10.6
Texas 9.6 10.1
South Dakota 6.3 8.4
Nebraska 6.7 6.4

* Rates shown are the number of deaths per 100,000 population. Age-adjusted death rates were calculated by applying age-specific death rates to the 2000 U.S standard population age distribution.

† Deaths are classified using the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD–10). Drug overdose deaths are identified using underlying cause-of-death codes X40–X44, X60–X64, X85, and Y10–Y14.

§ Joinpoint regression examining changes in trends from 2010 to 2016 indicated that 34 states had significant increases during the timeframe, or periods of increasing rates and stable rates during the timeframe (Alabama, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin). In two states, Florida and South Carolina, decreases were followed by increases, although the decrease was not statistically significant in South Carolina. In Kansas, a significant change in trend was observed in 2013, from increasing trend to decreasing trend, although the individual trends were non-significant due to small sample size. All remaining states had stable trends during this time.

Additional Data Sources

  • NVSS

    National Vital Statistics System presents provisional counts for drug overdose deaths occurring within the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The counts represent the number of reported deaths due to drug overdose occurring in the 12-month periods ending in the month indicated.


    CDC’s WISQARS™ (Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System) is an interactive, online database that provides fatal and nonfatal injury, violent death, and cost of injury data from a variety of trusted sources.


    CDC’s WONDER (Wide-ranging Online Data for Epidemiologic Research) an easy-to-use, menu-driven system that makes the information resources of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) available to public health professionals and the public at large. It provides access to a wide array of public health information.


  1. Hedegaard H, Warner M, Miniño AM. Drug overdose deaths in the United States, 1999–2016. NCHS Data Brief, no 294. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2017/ CDC. Wide-ranging online data for epidemiologic research (WONDER). Atlanta, GA: CDC, National Center for Health Statistics; 2016. Available at