Drug Overdoses

Latest estimates indicate that the number of preventable deaths in the United States increased 1% in 2022 to 227,039, an all-time high. A 1.3% increase in drug overdose deaths helped drive this record high. A total of 99,592 people died from preventable drug overdoses in 2022, also an all-time high. However, the 1.3% increase in 2022 is substantially lower than in the last several years; 2021 experienced a 17.6% increase while 2020 experienced a 34.4% increase.

The 35- to 44-year age group is experiencing the most opioid overdose deaths (21,139), a 5.0% increase from 2021, and an 82% increase since 2019. Currently, 71% of preventable opioid deaths occur among those ages 25 to 54, and the number of deaths among individuals 55 and older is growing rapidly. Few opioid deaths occur among children younger than 15.

Seven out of 10 preventable opioid overdose death victims are male, 55,925 compared to 21,678 female deaths in 2022. The number of female deaths decreased 0.5% in 2022, while male deaths increased 3.6%. Visit the data details tab to explore more trends by drug type, age, and sex.

It is estimated that the economic cost of opioid use disorder and fatal opioid overdose in 2017 was $150 billion. In addition, non-economic costs of $871 billion are estimated due to reduced quality of life from opioid use disorder and the value of life lost due to fatal opioid overdoses.

Sources:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). Multiple Cause of Death 1999-2021 on CDC WONDER Online Database. Data from the Multiple Cause of Death Files, 1999-2021, as compiled from data provided by the 57 vital statistics jurisdictions through the Vital Statistics Cooperative Program.

Florence, C., Luo, F., & Rice, K. (2021). The economic burden of opioid use disorder and fatal opioid overdose in the United States, 2017. Drug and Alcohol Dependence 218 (2021). Accessed online on 1/14/2021.

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