Overdose Deaths Exceed 100,000 Annually

CDC Announces Devastating New Numbers for Drug Overdoses in the U.S.


According to a press release issued on November 17, 2021, by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics, there were over 100,000 drug overdose deaths in the United States over a 12-month period. The grim new numbers show a 28.5% increase from the same time period in the previous year.

Provisional data from the CDC indicates that during the 12-month period ending in April 2021 there were an estimated 100,306 drug overdose deaths in the U.S. 

Furthermore, of those drug overdose deaths, an estimated 75,673 were related to opioid use. This number represents a significant increase from the previous year. As noted by the CDC, there were 56,064 overdose deaths from opioids the prior year.

It was not only overdose deaths related to opioid use that increased. The CDC found that overdose deaths increased from:

  • Synthetic opioids (primarily fentanyl)
  • Psychostimulants such as methamphetamine
  • Cocaine use
  • Natural and semi-synthetic opioids (such as prescription pain medication)

The numbers demonstrate a continuing trend of increased deaths related to drug use. Studies show that the number of fentanyl deaths, in particular, has risen sharply over the past few years. Fentanyl is an extremely potent synthetic opioid. Fentanyl is cheaper to manufacture than many other opioids and has become easier to distribute leading to many tragic overdoses and deaths.