Americans lose their lives in increasing numbers each year due to overdoses. The largest increase in deaths occurred between 2016 and 2017. The number of deaths increased from 63,632 to 70,237. The three drugs most commonly involved in death are cocaine, methamphetamine and fentanyl. However, several other illegal and legal drugs are also responsible for thousands of overdose deaths per year. Below is a breakdown of the 10 deadliest drugs in the US and their contribution to the nationwide rising death toll.
The 10 deadliest drugs in the US today
When we think about drug overdoses, we often think of street drugs and homeless people. But reality shows us another version of the story. In fact, many overdose deaths occur in rich or influential people, the neighbor, or a relative. Addiction can affect anyone, regardless of financial situation, status in the community, race, age or gender. In addition, not all drug overdoses are linked to illicit drugs. The following facts show that legal, prescription drugs are responsible for many of these deaths. Let's take a look at the statistics.
# 10. Antihistamines – 2,286 deaths
Includes diphenhydramine medications such as Benadryl, Banophe and Nytol. They are responsible for a 13.8% increase in overdose deaths from 2016 to 2017.
# 9. Opioids – 3,072 deaths
Prescription opioids include drugs such as Hydrocodone, Vicodin, Lorcet and Norco. These drugs accounted for 4.4% of overdose deaths in 2017.
# 8. Methadone – 3,286 deaths
This FDA-approved drug for the treatment of opioid addiction contributed 4.7% of the overdose deaths from 2016 to 2017.
# 7. Morphine – 4,874 deaths
Morphine accounted for 6.9% of fatal overdoses in 2017 and is now one of the most common overdose deaths in the United States.
# 6. Oxycodone – 6,053 deaths
This prescription painkiller is marketed under the names Roxicodone, Oxycontin, Oxaydo and Xtampza ER. It is attributed to 8.6% of fatal overdoses in the US in 2017.
# 5. Benzodiazepines – 6,647 deaths
Also known as alprazolam (Xanax), this prescription drug was involved in 9.5% of all overdose deaths in the US in 2017.
# 4. Methamphetamine – 9,356 deaths
The number of fatal overdoses with meth increased by 38.4% between 2016 and 2017. More than 12.3% of overdose deaths related to methamphetamine. It is associated with more deaths than any other drug in the western United States.
# 3. Cocaine – 14,948 deaths
The number of overdose deaths from cocaine increased from 17.8% in 2016 to 21.3% in 2017. Mortality rates on the East Coast and Midwest are significantly higher.
# 2. Heroin – 15,982 deaths
Heroin-related deaths from overdose have tripled between 2011 and 2016, and remain constant in 2017. However, heroin was the second or third most common drug in fatal overdoses in 2017.
# 1. Fentanyl – 27,299 deaths
Fentanyl is a synthetic prescription opioid used to treat chronic pain. It is often used to tie up street drugs like heroin. It is 50 times stronger than morphine. Deaths from overdose with fentanyl increased to 38.9% in 2017. These figures also include deaths with carfentanil, a fentanyl analogue.
It is important to note that many overdose deaths are associated with multiple medications. For this reason, it is often difficult to determine exactly which drug could be responsible for death.
Regional differences among the most abused drugs
Based on the death certificate data, the CDC determined the regional differences in deaths from overdose and the drugs most commonly affected. They found that different patterns occurred. The higher deaths with fentanyl, cocaine or heroin, for example, occurred in the eastern areas of the United States. The higher deaths with methamphetamine occurred in the western areas. This information will be useful in prevention and policy efforts.
Dependence on one of the 10 deadliest drugs in the US can be difficult to overcome. Treatment requires a comprehensive approach that takes into account all aspects of addiction. You also want to know that you can choose a program that meets your needs and preferences. When you're ready, call us now at Best Drug Rehabilitation. We can recommend a specially tailored treatment program for you.
cdc.gov – Regional differences in drugs most commonly involved in overdose deaths: USA, 2017
drugabuse.gov – Fentanyl