Drug Overdose Deaths
70,237 drug overdose deaths occurred in the United States in 2017. The age-adjusted rate of overdose deaths increased significantly by 9.6% from 2016 (19.8 per 100,000) to 2017 (21.7 per 100,000). Opioids—mainly synthetic opioids (other than methadone)—are currently the main driver of drug overdose deaths. Opioids were involved in 47,600 overdose deaths in 2017 (67.8% of all drug overdose deaths).
In 2017, the states with the highest rates of death due to drug overdose were West Virginia (57.8 per 100,000), Ohio (46.3 per 100,000), Pennsylvania (44.3 per 100,000), the District of Columbia (44.0 per 100,000), and Kentucky (37.2 per 100,000).1
States with statistically significant increases in drug overdose death rates from 2016 to 2017 included Alabama, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. 2
Deaths are classified using the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD–10). Drug-poisoning deaths are identified using underlying cause-of-death codes X40–X44, X60–X64, X85, and Y10–Y14. Age-adjusted death rates were calculated as deaths per 100,000 population using the direct method and the 2000 standard population.
SOURCE: CDC/NCHS, National Vital Statistics System, Mortality.
|State||Age Adjusted Drug Overdose Rate (2010)||Age Adjusted Drug Overdose Rate per 100,000 (2017)|
|District of Columbia||12.9||44|
* 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). Panel includes drug overdose deaths identified using underlying cause-of-death codes X40–X44, X60–X64, X85, and Y10–Y14.
§ Joinpoint regression examining changes in trends from 2013 to 2017 indicated that 35 states and the District of Columbia had significant increases in drug overdose death rates from 2013 to 2017 (Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin). All remaining states had nonsignificant trends during this period.
Additional Data Sources
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.
- CDC MMWR: Drug and Opioid-Involved Overdose Deaths—United States, 2013-2017
- CDC MMWR: Increases and Geographic Variations in Overdose Deaths Involving Opioids, Cocaine, and Psychostimulants with Abuse Potential – United States, 2015-2016
- CDC MMWR: Increases in Drug and Opioid Overdose Deaths – United States, 2000 to 2014
- NCHS Data Brief: Drug Overdose Deaths in the United States, 1999-2016
- NCHS Provisional Drug Overdose Death Counts
- CDC Data & Statistics
- Scholl L, Seth P, Kariisa M, Wilson N, Baldwin G. Drug and Opioid-Involved Overdose Deaths – United States, 2013-2017. Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. ePub: 21 December 2018.
- Multiple Cause of Death 1999–2017 on CDC Wide-ranging Online Data for Epidemiologic Research (CDC WONDER). Atlanta, GA: CDC, National Center for Health Statistics. 2018. Available at http://wonder.cdc.gov.