Drug Overdoses

The number of preventable deaths in the U.S. reached an all-time high of 161,374 in 2016, an increase of 14,803 over 2015, and poisoning deaths account for the majority of this increase (10,857). A total of 58,335 people died from poisoning in 2016.

Drug overdoses account for most poisoning deaths (54,793), and most of those involve opioid drugs (37,814).

Many Americans are familiar with the opioid epidemic headlines dominating the news. Preventable opioid overdose deaths increased 29% in 2016 and 544% since 1999. The 25 to 34 age group is experiencing the most opioid overdose deaths – 10,732 – a 35% increase from 2015 and a 774% increase since 1999. Currently 73% of preventable opioid deaths occur among those ages 25 to 54, and the number of deaths among individuals 55 and older is starting to grow. Few opioid deaths occur among children younger than 15.

Over two thirds of preventable opioid overdose death victims are male, 26,069 compared to 11,745 female deaths in 2016. However, since 1999, female opioid overdose deaths have increased at a faster pace than male deaths – 820% for females versus 468% for males. Visit the data details tab to explore more trends by drug type, age and sex.

See data details