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50 Drug Overdose Death Statistics: How Many People Die From Drugs?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), an estimated 585,000 people died worldwide due to drug use in 2017.

Drug Overdose Death Statistics

  • According to the World Health Organization (WHO), an estimated 585,000 people died worldwide due to drug use in 2017.
  • In the United States, drug overdose deaths reached a record high of approximately 93,000 in 2020, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  • Globally, drug-related deaths have increased by 60% over the past decade.
  • Opioids, including prescription painkillers and heroin, were responsible for 70% of drug overdose deaths in the United States in 2020.
  • In 2019, synthetic opioids like fentanyl were involved in more than 36,000 overdose deaths in the United States alone.
  • Methamphetamine-related deaths have been steadily increasing in the United States, reaching more than 16,500 in 2019.
  • Prescription drugs, such as benzodiazepines and stimulants, contributed to around 22,500 overdose deaths in the United States in 2019.
  • In the European Union, drug-related deaths surpassed 9,000 in 2019.
  • Australia reported over 1,740 drug-induced deaths in 2019, marking a 15% increase from the previous year.
  • The United Kingdom witnessed a surge in drug-related deaths, with more than 4,500 recorded in 2020.
  • Overdose deaths involving heroin and other opioids have risen dramatically in Canada, surpassing 17,000 between January 2016 and December 2020.
  • Germany reported approximately 1,500 drug-related deaths in 2020.
  • France experienced over 3,500 drug-related deaths in 2019, according to the French Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction.
  • Drug-related deaths in Spain exceeded 3,300 in 2019, according to the Spanish Ministry of Health.
Drug Overdose Death Rates | National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
NIDA
  • Italy recorded more than 2,000 drug-related deaths in 2019, based on the National Institute of Statistics.
  • Russia has one of the highest drug-related mortality rates globally, with over 25,000 deaths reported in 2019.
  • Brazil recorded around 40,000 drug-related deaths in 2019.
  • In Mexico, drug-related violence resulted in over 35,000 deaths in 2020, although not all were due to drug consumption itself.
  • Japan witnessed an increase in drug-related deaths, with over 2,000 reported in 2019.
  • Overdose deaths related to opioids are a significant concern in India, with an estimated 62,000 deaths in 2019.
  • China reported approximately 40,000 drug-related deaths in 2019, primarily due to synthetic opioids.
  • South Africa recorded over 3,200 drug-related deaths in 2019, according to the South African Medical Research Council.
  • Overdose deaths involving opioids increased by 75% in Sweden between 2010 and 2020.
  • The Netherlands reported around 2,000 drug-related deaths in 2020.
  • Portugal, known for its progressive drug policies, has experienced a decline in drug-related deaths since decriminalization in 2001.
  • In 2019, more than 1,200 drug-related deaths were reported in Scotland, the highest rate in the European Union.
  • In Ireland, drug-related deaths exceeded 700 in 2019.
  • Denmark witnessed an increase in drug-related deaths, reaching over 300 in 2019.
  • Overdose deaths in New Zealand rose to 533 in 2020, the highest number ever recorded.
  • The majority of drug-related deaths occur among individuals aged 25 to 54 years old.

Drug Overdose Death Statistics [2023]: Opioids, Fentanyl & More
NCDAS

Drug Overdose Death Facts

  • Accidental drug overdoses account for a significant portion of drug-related deaths.
  • Men are more likely to die from drug-related causes than women.
  • Drug-related deaths are more prevalent among individuals with a history of substance abuse or addiction.
  • Socioeconomic factors, such as poverty and unemployment, contribute to higher rates of drug-related deaths.
  • Overdose deaths often involve multiple substances, including opioids, benzodiazepines, and alcohol.
  • Drug-related deaths have a substantial impact on life expectancy, particularly in countries with high rates.
  • Overdose deaths are not limited to illegal drugs; prescription medication misuse also contributes to the statistics.
  • The opioid crisis has contributed to a sharp rise in drug-related deaths in many countries, particularly in North America.
  • Accessibility to treatment, harm reduction programs, and naloxone distribution can help prevent drug-related deaths.
  • Drug-related deaths have significant economic costs due to healthcare expenses, loss of productivity, and criminal justice involvement.
  • Stigma and discrimination surrounding drug use can hinder individuals from seeking help and contribute to overdose deaths.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated drug-related deaths, with increased isolation and disrupted healthcare services.
  • Effective drug education, prevention programs, and early intervention can reduce drug-related deaths.
  • Supervised injection sites and drug checking services have shown to decrease overdose fatalities in some communities.
  • The rise of counterfeit or adulterated drugs has contributed to an increase in drug-related deaths.
  • Some countries have implemented harm reduction strategies, such as safe consumption rooms, to prevent drug-related deaths.
  • Research into alternative pain management methods and non-addictive treatments for substance use disorders is crucial in reducing drug-related deaths.
  • Collaborative efforts between healthcare providers, policymakers, and law enforcement are necessary to address the issue of drug-related deaths effectively.
  • Public awareness campaigns and destigmatization efforts can help reduce drug-related deaths by encouraging individuals to seek support and treatment.
Opioids, cocaine, cannabis and other illicit drugs - Our World in Data
Our World in Data

Drug Addiction Death Rate by State

  • West Virginia: 52.0 deaths per 100,000 people (48.3% of all deaths)
  • Ohio: 39.2 deaths per 100,000 people (38.3% of all deaths)
  • Pennsylvania: 36.1 deaths per 100,000 people (30.5% of all deaths)
  • District of Columbia: 35.2 deaths per 100,000 people (17.6% of all deaths)
  • Kentucky: 33.5 deaths per 100,000 people (34.1% of all deaths)
  • New Hampshire: 33.0 deaths per 100,000 people (36.7% of all deaths)
  • Maryland: 32.2 deaths per 100,000 people (28.7% of all deaths)
  • Massachusetts: 31.6 deaths per 100,000 people (31.3% of all deaths)
  • Rhode Island: 30.5 deaths per 100,000 people (29.5% of all deaths)
  • Connecticut: 28.7 deaths per 100,000 people (26.8% of all deaths)

Note: Data is from the year 2017 and was obtained from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

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