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New Analysis of Opioid Overdose Trends Across States

A new analysis finds that the evolving drug overdose crisis has wide, varying effects across states and that there has been an uptick in non-opioid illicit drug overdoses.

The analysis, from the University of Minnesota’s State Health Access Data Assistance Center, illustrates key trends in drug overdose deaths across the United States from 2000 to 2017. It highlights how states’ overdose rates compare with other states, as well as the national average.

The data are disaggregated by five drug types: heroin; natural and semi-synthetic opioids; synthetic opioids; psychostimulants; and cocaine. Notably, the data show that eastern and midwestern states saw the highest numbers of opioid overdose deaths in 2017, with West Virginia at the top of the list for deaths from all five drug categories. For example, the analysis found that West Virginia experienced 37.4 synthetic opioid–related deaths per 100,000 people, compared with 1.2 per 100,000 in Kansas and Texas.

Contact Senior Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at or 202.585.0127 with questions.


About the Author

Kelcie Jimenez is a state policy analyst at America's Essential Hospitals.

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