U.S. Opioid Death Statistics
The opioid crisis has become the worst drug epidemic in modern American history. There were over 47,000 opioid overdose deaths in 2017—more than from automobile accidents or firearm-related homicides. Many of those overdose deaths were from heroin and black-market fentanyl, which are surging in popularity.
How does the opioid overdose death rate vary by state?
Opioid death rates vary greatly by state, and exhibit signs of regional clustering. West Virginia has the highest death rate, and its neighboring states in the Rust Belt also rank high. In recent years, the New England region has also experienced a surge in opioid-related deaths. Note: to see different years on the map, drag the time-slider.
How does the opioid death rate differ by demographics?
Just as the opioid crisis is distributed unevenly across the United States, rates of opioid overdose deaths also differ by demographics. Men die more often from opioid overdoses than women. Whites have had the highest rate of opioid overdose deaths, and Asians and Pacific Islanders the lowest.
However, since the late 1990's, the death rate has increased dramatically across all demographic groups.
The same alarming trend exists across most age groups. Only very young and very old Americans have low and stable death rates from opioid overdoses. The chart below shows how each age group's crude death rate has changed between 1999 and 2017.