Healthcare Economy

The State Where Fatal Drug Overdoses Are Rising Fastest

Early in November, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a grim report titled “Drug Overdose Deaths in the U.S. Top 100,000 Annually.” Even in a year in which COVID-19 deaths were in the hundreds of thousands, the news was shocking.

The primary conclusion of the report was that in the 12-month period that ended in April, the number of drug overdose deaths rose 28.5% to 100,306. The deaths were driven by increases in fatalities from opioids, methamphetamine and cocaine.

While no corner of the country has been spared from the scourge of substance abuse and addiction, overdose deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic have hit some states especially hard.

Using data from the CDC, 24/7 Wall St. identified the state where the rate of fatal overdoses is rising fastest. States were ranked on the change in deadly overdoses over the 12 months covered by the study.

The year-over-year change in the number of overdose deaths varies considerably by state. Only four states reported a decline in overdose deaths, while in 11 states, fatal overdoses spiked by over 45%. Most of the states with the largest increases in overdose deaths are located in the South. Similarly, most of the states with the highest overdose rates (overdose deaths per 100,000 people) are also in the South.

The state where fatal overdoses are rising the fastest is Vermont. Here are the details:

  • Change in fatal drug overdoses: +69.9% (+86)
  • Fatal drug overdoses, 12 months ending April 2021: 32.5 per 100,000 people (20th highest); 209 total
  • Fatal drug overdoses, 12 months ending April 2020: 19.1 per 100,000 people (22nd lowest); 123 total
  • Drug class with the largest increase in deaths: Synthetic opioids (+76.1%)

To identify the state where fatal drug overdoses are rising fastest, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), a division of the CDC. States are ranked on the change in deadly overdoses in the 12 months through April 2021.

To account for pending investigations and incomplete counts, the numbers reported are estimates calculated by the NCHS.

Population-adjusted fatality rates were calculated using population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau’s decennial census.

Click here to see all the states where fatal drug overdoses are rising fastest.