Prescription Opioid Overdose Death Maps

In 2019, an average of 38 people died each day from overdoses involving prescription opioids, totaling more than 14,000 deaths.1  While prescription opioids were involved in over 28% of all opioid overdose deaths in 2019, there was a nearly 7% decrease in prescription opioid-involved death rates from 2018 to 2019.

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.

References

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