Drug overdose deaths have increased in almost every U.S. county. The increase is largely driven by addiction to prescription opioids and heroin.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found 47,055 people died from drug overdoses. The drug overdose death rate is rising much faster than the rate of other causes of death. Overdose death rates are rising faster in rural areas than in large metropolitan areas.
- Opioids were involved in more than 61% of deaths from overdoses in 2014.
- Heroin-related deaths have more than tripled since 2010. They are currently double the rate of cocaine-related deaths.
Recently, The New York Times reported the rising death rate of young white adults in the United States is being driven by drug overdoses.
In contrast, the death rates for young black Americans is falling, according to an analysis by the newspaper. This is the first generation of young white adults since the Vietnam War to have higher deaths rates in early adulthood than the generation before it.
The findings come from an analysis of almost 60 million death certificates collected by the CDC between 1990 and 2014. Death rates for non-Hispanic whites rose or flattened for all adult age groups under 65, especially in women. During that period, medical advances greatly decreased deaths from traditional causes such as heart disease. Among blacks and most Hispanic groups, death rates continued to fall during those years.
The overdose death rate for whites ages 25 to 34 in 2014 was five times its level in 1999. Among whites ages 35 to 44, the overdose rate tripled during those years. The analysis included deaths from illegal and prescription drugs.