Breaking Our Worst Records: Overdose Deaths in America

Posted on Dec 13, 2016
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Every year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gather an enormous amount of data about the health of our population. They spend over a year analyzing and publishing the facts for each survey they conduct across the U.S. Included in that data is information on addiction and drug abuse. Over the past few decades, this data has told an increasingly sad tale (one that mirrors the long term history of opioids in America) of crippling opioid abuse and widespread death. In 2014, the most recent year available, the United States set record for overdose deaths with 47,000.

Here are the cold, hard facts from the 2014 data about the state of substance abuse in America.

In the years from 2000 to 2014 an estimated half a million Americans died from drug overdoses. 47,000 died in 2014 alone.

  • Opioid overdose deaths, including both opioid pain relievers and heroin, hit record levels in 2014, with an alarming 14-percent increase in just one year, according to CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
  • Commonly prescribed opioid pain meds, those classified as natural or semi-synthetic opioids such as oxycodone and hydrocodone, were involved in more overdose deaths than any other opioid type. 813 more Americans, or nine percent more, died in 2014 as compared with 2013.
  • Likewise deaths from heroin increased again in 2014 with overdose rates tripling since 2010.
  • Overall, more than six out of 10 drug overdose deaths among all drug types in 2014 involved opioids, including opioid pain relievers and heroin.
  • Deaths involving illicitly made fentanyl, a potent opioid often added to or sold just like heroin, also are rising. Illicit drugs were involved in 5,500 deaths in 2014, nearly twice as many as the year before.

Who is Using and Abusing Drugs?

  • Deaths from drug overdoses are up in both men and women.
  • Adults and teens of nearly all ages are using and abusing.
  • Non-Hispanic whites and blacks abuse drugs at higher rates than average.
  • Drug overdose deaths were highest in five U.S. states: West Virginia, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Kentucky, and Ohio.
  • Young adults, ages 18 to 25 were the biggest abusers of prescription opioid pain relievers, ADHD stimulants, and anti-anxiety drugs.
  • Overall, more than 1,700 young adults died from prescription drug overdoses, including mostly opioids. This a four-fold increase from 1999.
  • More got emergency care or died from overdoses of prescription opioids than from heroin and cocaine combined.

The number of people dying from substance abuse is alarming to us. It’s our life’s work to help reduce these statistics. If you or a loved one needs help, look no further. We offer a 24/7 confidential hotline at (844) 206-9063 and our admissions team is available online.

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