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Opioid-Involved Overdose Deaths in the US

MMWR; 2019 Jan 4; Scholl, Seth, et al

In the US, drug overdose death rates from 2013‒2017 increased in most states, with the influence of synthetic opioids on these rate increases seen in approximately one-fourth of all states during the same 5-year period, according to a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report. The CDC examined state-level changes in death rates involving all drug overdoses in 50 states and the District of Columbia (DC) and those involving synthetic opioids in 20 states, during 2013‒2017. Among the findings:

  • Among 70,237 drug overdose deaths in 2017, 47,600 (67.8%) involved opioids, with increases seen across age groups, racial/ethnic groups, county urbanization levels, and in multiple states.
  • From 2013‒2017, synthetic opioids contributed to increases in drug overdose death rates in several states.
  • From 2016‒2017, synthetic opioid-involved overdose death rates increased 45.2%.


Scholl L, Seth P, Kariisa M, Wilson N, Baldwin G. Drug and opioid-involved overdose deaths—United States, 2013–2017. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2019;67:1419–1427. doi:10.15585/mmwr.mm675152e1.