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Data Overview

Overview of an epidemic

Drug overdose deaths and opioid-involved deaths continue to increase in the United States. Deaths from drug overdose are up among both men and women, all races, and adults of nearly all ages.1

More than three out of five drug overdose deaths involve an opioid.1 Opioids are substances that work on the nervous system in the body or specific receptors in the brain to reduce the intensity of pain. Overdose deaths from opioids, including prescription opioids and heroin, have more than quadrupled since 1999.1  Overdoses involving opioids killed more than 28,000 people in 2014.1 Over half of those deaths were from prescription opioids.1

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Overdose Deaths Involving Opioids, United States, 2000-2015. For data points, see source: CDC. Increases in Drug and Opioid-Involved Overdose Deaths, United States, 2010-2015. MMWR 2016.



  1. Rudd RA, Seth P, David F, Scholl L. Increases in Drug and Opioid-Involved Overdose Deaths — United States, 2010–2015. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. ePub: 16 December 2016. DOI: