Drug Overdose Deaths

Drug Overdose Deaths Remain High

Over 70% of the nearly 71,00 drug overdose deaths in 2019 involved an opioid.

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.
U.S. Drug Overdose Death Rate Maps
U.S. Overdose Rate Change Maps
U.S. Overdose Rate Change Graphs
Data Sources


  1. Wide-ranging online data for epidemiologic research (WONDER). Atlanta, GA: CDC, National Center for Health Statistics; 2020. Available at http://wonder.cdc.gov.
  2. 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.
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