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Infographic – Synthetic Opioids Driving Overdose Deaths

Chart: Opioid overdose deaths

Click on image for full-size view (Statista)

14 May 2022. While Covid-19 may grab health headlines in the U.S., the opioid epidemic is not going away, and shifting from prescription to synthetic compounds. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and presented in chart form this week by the business research company Statista, show overdose deaths from synthetic opioids accelerating in the U.S.

Provisional data from CDC show for 2021, drug overdose deaths of any kind reached 103,600, exceeding the 100,000 marker for the first time. And those numbers are rising each year, from nearly 68,000 in 2018 to more than 71,000 in 2019, and about 92,500 in 2020. Those numbers include both intentional overdose deaths, such as suicides and homicides, as well as accidental or unintended overdose deaths, with overdose deaths among men far exceeding those for women.

Further data breakdowns from CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, displayed in Statista’s chart, show sharply rising numbers of overdose deaths from synthetic opioids, rather than prescription drugs or heroin. Fentanyl and other synthetic opioids account for nearly 18 deaths in 100,000 people in the U.S. in 2020, increasing dramatically since 2015. At the same time, the rate of prescription opioid overdose deaths remains relatively stable at about 5 per 100,000 population, and the rate of heroin overdose deaths dropping slightly to about 4 per 100,000.

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