Drug Overdoses

The number of preventable deaths in the U.S. reached an all-time high of 169,936 in 2017, an increase of 8,562 over 2016, and poisoning deaths account for the majority of this increase (6,460). A total of 64,795 people died from poisoning in 2017.

Many Americans are familiar with the opioid epidemic headlines dominating the news. Preventable opioid overdose deaths increased 14% in 2017 and 633% since 1999. The 25 to 34 age group is experiencing the most opioid overdose deaths – 12,325 – a 15% increase from 2016 and a 904% increase since 1999. Currently 74% 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, 29,772 compared to 13,264 female deaths in 2017. However, since 1999, female opioid overdose deaths have increased at a faster pace than male deaths – 939% for females versus 548% for males. Visit the data details tab to explore more trends by drug type, age and sex.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. Multiple Cause of Death 1999-2017 on CDC WONDER Online Database, released December, 2017. Data from the Multiple Cause of Death Files, 1999-2017, as compiled from data provided by the 57 vital statistics jurisdictions through the Vital Statistics Cooperative Program.

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