Drug Overdoses

Over the last three years preventable drug overdose deaths increased 61%, from 62,172 in 2019. Preliminary 2022, estimates indicate that 100,105 people died from preventable drug overdoses – an increase of 797% since 1999. These deaths represent 92% of the total 108,490 drug overdose deaths in the United States, which also include suicide, homicide, and undetermined intents.

Because Injury Facts focuses on preventable injury statistics, this page concentrates on preventable drug overdose trends. The interactive chart analyzes preventable drug overdose deaths by default. However, users can analyze either preventable or all injury intents. To analyze total drug deaths, select “All” in the intent field. When comparing drug overdose deaths to the other preventable causes of death data in Injury Facts(like motor-vehicle crashes, falls, or choking), preventable drug overdose death estimates are recommended.

The chart allows you to compare fatality trends by drug type, age, and gender. When comparing deaths by drug type, multiple drugs are often listed for one death. Because of this, the fatality counts by drug type are not mutually exclusive and should not be added together to calculate totals.

The majority of preventable drug overdose deaths (78%) involve opioids, totaling 78,012 in 2022. Opioid drugs include both prescription and illicit drug categories. The drug category most frequently involved in preventable opioid overdoses and growing at the fastest pace is “synthetic opioids other than methadone.” This category includes fentanyl, fentanyl analogs, and tramadol. The fentanyl category of opioids accounted for 71,269 preventable deaths in 2022, representing a 6% increase over the 67,325 total in 2021.

A non-opioid, the Psychostimulants category that includes methamphetamines, accounted for the second highest number of preventable drug deaths, claiming 33,330 lives in 2022 (a 5% increase from the 31,607 deaths in 2021).

The opioid category that includes morphine, oxycodone, and hydrocodone (natural and semisynthetic opioids) was involved in 10,568 preventable deaths in 2022, a 13% decrease from 2021.

The chart also allows you to explore overdose death trends among a few other non-opioid drugs, including benzodiazepines, cocaine, and cannabis.

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