No one would be surprised to hear that the United States is plagued by an opioid epidemic and ongoing drug problem. In fact, many families have been faced with addiction and its consequences even within the walls of their own home.

However, even with the level of awareness, overdose statistics and deaths related to drug overdose continue to rise at alarming rates. Men and women, adults and teens all can and do fall victim to the dangers of addiction. 

Drug overdose statistics 

From the year 1999 to 2021, overdose death rates have increased steadily, only ever seeing a slight drop in the year 2018. In fact, nearly one million people have lost their lives to overdose since 1999.

In 1999, overdose statistics hovered around 20,000, but as of 2021, the annual rate of deaths from overdose has increased to approximately 100,306.

Drugs commonly overdosed  

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the US government does not track overdose deaths for every known drug; rather, it takes into consideration the drugs most commonly responsible for overdose deaths and compiles their statistics accordingly. 

As of 2020, the drugs most responsible for overdose deaths ranked as follows: 

  1. Synthetic opioids (mostly fentanyl)
  2. Psychostimulants with potential for abuse (mostly methamphetamine)
  3. Cocaine
  4. Opioids
  5. Heroin
  6. Benzodiazepines
  7. Antidepressants

In 2021, the trend continued, with fentanyl responsible for 71,238 deaths, methamphetamine for 32,856, cocaine for 24,538 and prescription pain medications for 13,503 deaths. 

Men and women overdose statistics 

While it’s easy to look at overdose statistics as a whole (and consequently feel overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the problem), one of the key ways we might begin addressing and treating this issue is by taking a look at the way overdose threatens different demographics. 

For example, men are twice as likely to die from overdose, but the rate of women who die from overdose is increasing at a faster rate annually at 14.9 percent versus the number of men at 14.1 percent.

Other drug overdose statistics include: 

  • The death rate of males (aged 24-35) from overdose is 146.8 percent higher than women of the same age
  • Men of this age group are, in fact, more likely to die from overdose than all other age groups
  • The most common age for women to die from overdose is between ages 45-54, with the rate for men still high at 75.6 percent 
  • Under 15 years old, the rate of overdose death for men and women is significantly low, at 0.2 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively;
  • However, this number increases greatly from age 15-24, with men at 17.1 percent and women at 7.9 percent.

By understanding which age groups and genders are affected the most, we can provide appropriate outreach and treatment options to get them the care they need before overdose becomes a threat.

Overdose statistics by state

Depending on the part of the country in which you live, you may be more or less familiar with drug overdose. In some areas of the country, drug use is a very prevalent problem, but in other parts, it’s much less of an issue. 

While it is true that big cities in the United States (like San Francisco, Boston and New York City) traditionally have consistent drug overdose problems, it’s not to be dismissed that smaller, rural towns have problems with drug use as well. Sadly, the issue has become so widespread that even unassuming areas may be prone to experiencing the tragedy of overdose deaths. 

Treatment for drug addiction 

A battle with substance abuse doesn’t need to end with overdose. And you don’t need to experience an overdose to believe you are worthy of treatment. No matter where you are in your battle with drug addiction, recovery and freedom are possible and accessible. 

Real Recovery Sober Living offers personalized treatment programs and recovery plans designed to meet the specific needs of those who battle substance use. Contact us by visiting our website anytime or calling us at 855-363-7325 to learn more.