Statistics and other data on overdoses, including mortality estimates. Overdoses from all causes are examined, including alcohol, cocaine, and methamphetamine, in addition to heroin, fentanyl, and other opioids. Includes a subsection on naloxone, the opiate antagonist that can immediately reverse an opioid overdose.

Provisional Counts of Overdose Deaths Can Be Misleading

The federal Centers for Disease Control reported on December 21, 2017, that there had been a total of 63,600 deaths attributed to drug overdose in the US in 2016. Based on data available for analysis on Oct. 1, 2017, the CDC's provisional count of drug overdose deaths in the US for the 12-month period ending in December 2016 had been 71,135. The difference is attributed to data quality: provisional counts are by definition incomplete, which means they can be misleading.

Factors That May Skew Estimates of Overdose Deaths Attributed to Specific Drugs, Particularly Opioids

"First, factors related to death investigation might affect rate estimates involving specific drugs. At autopsy, the substances tested for, and circumstances under which tests are performed to determine which drugs are present, might vary by jurisdiction and over time. Second, the percentage of deaths with specific drugs identified on the death certificate varies by jurisdiction and over time. Nationally, 19% (in 2014) and 17% (in 2015) of drug overdose death certificates did not include the specific types of drugs involved.

Deaths from Drug Overdose in the United States in 2015

"During 2015, drug overdoses accounted for 52,404 U.S. deaths, including 33,091 (63.1%) that involved an opioid. There has been progress in preventing methadone deaths, and death rates declined by 9.1%. However, rates of deaths involving other opioids, specifically heroin and synthetic opioids other than methadone (likely driven primarily by illicitly manufactured fentanyl) (2,3), increased sharply overall and across many states."

Drug Poisoning Deaths In The US 2013, and Trends 1999-2013

(Drug Poisoning Deaths In The US 2013, and Trends 1999-2013) "In 2013, a total of 43,982 deaths in the United States were attributed to drug poisoning, including 16,235 deaths (37%) involving opioid analgesics. From 1999 to 2013, the drug poisoning death rate more than doubled from 6.1 to 13.8 per 100,000 population, and the rate for drug poisoning deaths involving opioid analgesics nearly quadrupled from 1.4 to 5.1 per 100,000.

Alcohol Overdose

(Alcohol Overdose) "Toxicity or overdose: In alcohol-naive people, a BAC of 300 to 400 mg/dL often causes unconsciousness, and a BAC ? 400 mg/dL may be fatal. Sudden death due to respiratory depression or arrhythmias may occur, especially when large quantities are drunk rapidly. This problem is emerging in US colleges but has been known in other countries where it is more common. Other common effects include hypotension and hypoglycemia.

Naloxone Availability and Use in the US

(Naloxone Availability and Use in the US) "Opioid overdose, a major source of morbidity and mortality worldwide, accounts for half of the mortality among heroin users (1) and is a leading cause of death among adults in the United States (2). Naloxone is a safe, effective, short-acting opioid antagonist for intravenous, intramuscular, subcutaneous, or intranasal administration by medical personnel and—since the late 1990s—laypersons to reverse opioid overdose. (3).

Naloxone and Overdose Prevention in the EU

(Naloxone and Overdose Prevention in the EU) "In 2011, two thirds of European countries reported that ambulance personnel are trained in naloxone use; in just over half of these countries, naloxone is reported to be one of the standard medications carried in ambulances. Only Italy, Romania and the United Kingdom report the existence of community-based harm-reduction programmes that provide take-home naloxone to opioid users, their family members and carers.

Prescription Opioid Overdose

(Prescription Opioid Overdose) "Among patients who are prescribed opioids, an estimated 80% are prescribed low doses (<100 mg morphine equivalent dose per day) by a single practitioner (7,8), and these patients account for an estimated 20% of all prescription drug overdoses (Figure 3). Another 10% of patients are prescribed high doses (?100 mg morphine equivalent dose per day) of opioids by single prescribers and account for an estimated 40% of prescription opioid overdoses (9,10). The remaining 10% of patients are of greatest concern.

Effectiveness of Naloxone Against Opiate Overdoses

(Effectiveness of Naloxone Against Opiate Overdoses) "Treatment with naloxone can reverse respiratory failure within a few minutes (Darke and Hall, 1997; Physician’s Desk Reference, 2000). Naloxone is an opiate antagonist, and is thought to displace heroin at the Mu2 receptors. Physicians and emergency personnel treat patients suspected of heroin overdose by administering an initial dose of naloxone parenterally.