Drug Overdose Death Statistics Reveal 63,600 Fatalities In 2016
Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported the final drug overdose death statistics for 2016, and the numbers were staggering – at least 63,600 deaths due any drug or alcohol – a significant increase of 21% from 52,400 in 2015.
The data reveals that overdose deaths are now the 8th leading cause of deaths among Americans. The age-adjusted rate of overdose deaths (19.8 per 100,000) is more than three-fold the rate of 1999, and deaths increased for both men and women and all age groups. However, the death overdose rate for men was nearly twice that of women.
Additionally, from 2015-2016, the drug overdose death rate rose 28% for those age 15-24 and 29% for those aged 25-35. Age-adjusted overdose rates in twenty-two states and the District of Columbia were statistically higher than the national rate of about 20 per 100,000.
The CDC also notes that the types of drugs linked to overdose deaths have changed in the past few years. For example, deaths involving synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl, doubled in just one year from 2015 to 2016.
The CDC calls these deaths “an increasing health burden in the United States.” Indeed, these numbers exceed those of the peak number of deaths during the AIDS crisis in 1995, those of gun-related deaths in 1993, and the number of deaths due to car accidents in 1972.
Pennsylvania was fourth in the nation regarding the drug overdose rate, reflecting nearly 38 of every 100,000 Pennsylvania residents. West Virginia one once again, by far, at the top of the list with 52 overdose deaths per capita, following by Ohio and New Hampshire at nearly 39. The District of Columbia was slightly above Pennsylvania.
Nebraska was the state with the lowest drug overall death rate at 6.4 per 100,000.
A report from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) from June revealed that more than 4,600 people in Pennsylvania died due to a drug overdose in 2016, reflecting an increase 35% from the prior year. And some counties are already reporting drug overdose death totals that closely align with last year.
~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology