Drug Overdose Deaths in the U.S. Up 30% in 2020

For Immediate Release: July 14, 2021

Contact: CDC, National Center for Health Statistics, Office of Communication (301) 458-4800
E-mail: paoquery@cdc.gov

Provisional data from CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics indicate that there were an estimated 93,331 drug overdose deaths in the United States during 2020, an increase of 29.4% from the 72,151 deaths predicted in 2019.

The data features an interactive web data visualization.  The new data documents that estimated overdose deaths from opioids increased from 50,963 in 2019 to 69,710 in 2020. Overdose deaths from synthetic opioids (primarily fentanyl) and psychostimulants such as methamphetamine also increased in 2020 compared to 2019. Cocaine deaths also increased in 2020, as did deaths from natural and semi-synthetic opioids (such as prescription pain medication).

The provisional data presented in this visualization include: the reported and predicted (estimated) provisional counts of deaths due to drug overdose occurring nationally and in each jurisdiction; a U.S. map of the percentage changes in provisional drug overdose deaths for the current 12-month ending period compared with the 12-month period ending in the same month of the previous year, by jurisdiction; and the reported and predicted provisional counts of drug overdose deaths involving specific drugs or drug classes occurring nationally and in selected jurisdictions.

The reported and predicted provisional counts represent the numbers of deaths due to drug overdose occurring in the 12-month periods ending in the month indicated. These counts include all seasons of the year and are insensitive to variations by seasonality. Deaths are reported by the jurisdiction in which the death occurred.

The interactive web dashboard is available at: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/drug-overdose-data.htm.


Page last reviewed: July 14, 2021