Drug Overdose Deaths
Drug Overdose Deaths Remain High
Nearly 841,000 people have died since 1999 from a drug overdose.1 In 2019, 70,630 drug overdose deaths occurred in the United States. The age-adjusted rate of overdose deaths increased by over 4% from 2018 (20.7 per 100,000) to 2019 (21.6 per 100,000).
- Opioids—mainly synthetic opioids (other than methadone)—are currently the main driver of drug overdose deaths. 72.9% of opioid-involved overdose deaths involve synthetic opioids.
- Opioids were involved in 49,860 overdose deaths in 2019 (70.6% of all drug overdose deaths).
- Drug overdose deaths involving psychostimulants such as methamphetamine are increasing with and without synthetic opioid involvement.2
Drug overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids and methamphetamine have shifted geographically.2
- From 2018 to 2019, the largest increase in death rates involving synthetic opioids occurred in the West (67.9%).
- The largest increase in death rates involving psychostimulants occurred in the Northeast (43.8%).
- Previously, the East had the highest increases in deaths involving synthetic opioids, and the Midwest had the highest increases in deaths involving psychostimulants.
- No state experienced a significant decrease from 2018-2019.
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 CDC available to public health professionals and the public at large. It provides access to a wide array of public health information.
- Wide-ranging online data for epidemiologic research (WONDER). Atlanta, GA: CDC, National Center for Health Statistics; 2020. Available at http://wonder.cdc.gov.
- Mattson CL, Tanz LJ, Quinn K, Kariisa M, Patel P, Davis NL. Trends and Geographic Patterns in Drug and Synthetic Opioid Overdose Deaths — United States, 2013–2019. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2021;70:202–207. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm7006a4external icon.