CDC: Overdose deaths hit new high

The number of drug overdose deaths were stable between 2021 and 2022, remaining at the highest rate since 2002, according to CDC data published March 21. 

Drug overdose deaths increased only slightly between 2021 and 2022, from 32.4 to 32.6 deaths per 100,000 people. 

The rate of drug overdose deaths has nearly quadrupled since 2002, according to the CDC. 

Here are three trends to note from the data: 

  1. From 2021 to 2022, the rates of drug overdose deaths decreased among adults aged 15-24 and 25-34. The rates increased among adults age 35 and older, with 63.1 deaths per 100,000 people per year. Though adults age 65 and older have the lowest overall rate of drug overdose deaths, the group saw a 10% increase in drug overdose deaths from 2021 to 2022 — the largest increase of any age group. 

  2. From 2021 to 2022, age-adjusted rates of drug overdose rates increased among American Indian and Alaska Native, Black, Hispanic and Asian adults. American Indian and Alaska Native people experienced a 15% increase in drug overdose deaths, the largest among any group. Rates of deaths decreased in white and Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander populations. 

  3. The age-adjusted rate of overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids, including fentanyl, increased slightly in 2022. The rates of drug overdose deaths involving heroin decreased by 35.7% from 2021 to 2022, and rates involving natural and semisynthetic opioids decreased by 12.5%. 

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