Drug overdose death rate U.S. 2018, by state

West Virginia is currently the state with the highest drug overdose death rate in the United States, with almost 52 deaths per 100,000 population in 2018. Although West Virginia had the highest drug overdose death rate at that time, California was the state where the most people died from drug overdose. In 2018, around 5,348 people in California died from a drug overdose.

The main perpetrator

Opioids account for the majority of all drug overdose deaths in the U.S. Opioids include both illegal drugs such as heroin, as well as legal prescription drugs like fentanyl and oxycodone. The abuse of prescription opioids and heroin have both increased in recent years leading to an increased number of drug overdose deaths. In 2018, the death rate from heroin overdose was almost 5 per 100,000 population, while in 2010 there was only 1 death from heroin overdose per 100,000 population.

Opioid epidemic

The sharp rise in overdose deaths from opioids have led many to declare the United States is currently experiencing an opioid epidemic or opioid crisis. The causes of this epidemic are complicated but involve a combination of a rise in dispensed prescriptions, irresponsible marketing from pharmaceutical companies, a lack of physician-patient communication, increased social acceptance of prescription drugs, and an increased supply of cheap and potent heroin on the streets. A recent poll found that an increasing number of Americans feel opioids are a serious problem in their community.

Drug overdose death rate in the United States in 2018, by state

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Sources

Release date

January 2020

Region

United States

Survey time period

2018

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Statistics on "Drug use in the U.S."

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