Prescription Opioid Overdose Death Maps

In 2020, an average of 44 people died each day from overdoses involving prescription opioids, totaling more than 16,000 deaths.1  Prescription opioids were involved in nearly 18% of all opioid overdose deaths in 2020, with over a 16% increase in prescription opioid-involved death rates from 2019 to 2020.

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; 2021. Available at http://wonder.cdc.gov.
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