How bad is the drug epidemic in YOUR state? Overdose deaths have risen in EVERY part of the US in the past year and by up to 40% in some areas, new CDC data shows

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Written By Rivera Claudia

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  • Nevada experienced the largest increase in percentage of drug overdose deaths
  • The US is on track to record the highest-ever number of deaths due to overdoses
  • READ MORE: West Virginia is becoming epicenter of ‘deadliest drug threat’

The drug epidemic plaguing America is showing no signs of slowing down, as new data reveals deadly overdoses continued to rise over the past year. 

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report showed there was a 2.3 percent rise in deaths from overdoses in the 12-month period from July 2022 to July 2023 – the latest month data is available – with some states experiencing a surge in overdoses by more than 40 percent. 

Overall, the number of Americans who died in the 12-month span is 112,000 – but the true toll is likely higher given delays in reporting data, putting the US on track to record the deadliest year ever. 

The country has struggled with an overdose epidemic partially driven by the spread of the synthetic opioid fentanyl, which is up to 50 times more potent than heroin and lethal even in tiny doses. 

Most recently, another deadly drug known as ‘tranq’ has begun to be mixed with fentanyl, creating an even more lethal cocktail that the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has described as ‘the deadliest threat our country has ever faced.’

Pictured above is a man on the streets of San Francisco seen taking drugs

In comparing July 2022-2023 to the previous 12-month span of July 2021-2022, Washington state saw the largest increase in drug overdose deaths, surging 41 percent.

Deaths from 2022-2023 are estimated to be 3,414, an increase from 2,420 in July 2022.

It was followed by Oregon with a 34 percent increase and 1,650 deaths in the most recent 12 months.  Third was Nevada, which recorded 1,334 deaths, an increase of 30 percent over the previous 12 months.

The state with largest decline in drug overdose deaths was Nebraska, which saw a nearly 18 percent drop. From July 2021 to 2022, there were 231 overdoses compared to 190 from July 2022 to 2023. 

Every state saw a rise in drug overdose deaths in the past year

Every state saw a rise in drug overdose deaths in the past year

This was followed by Arkansas with a 14.5 percent decline from 634 to 542, and Indiana with a 14 percent decline from 2,769 to 2,384.

Accounting for total deaths, California recorded the most at 130,000 and South Dakota saw the least with 87 overdose deaths. 

While data is not yet final on drug overdoses for 2022, provisional statistics from the CDC show there were 110,800 estimated deaths, which surpasses 2021’s toll.  

In 2021, the most recent year with complete data, 107,000 people died from a drug overdose. The rate of overdose was 32.4 people per every 100,000. This represented a 14 increase from 2020’s 28.3 people per every 100,000.

Of those deaths, 75 percent (80,400 people) were due to opioids. 

Since CDC data from January 2015, opioids have been the leading cause of deaths from drug overdoses. 

After opioids, psychostimulants – a class of drugs that include cocaine and methamphetamine – killed the most people.

Health and addiction experts refer to the drug epidemic in ‘waves.’

The US is currently in what has been deemed the ‘fourth wave’ of the drug crisis. While it began in the later 1990s with the rise of potent prescription pills like OxyContin. 

It began to surge in 2015, about two years after fentanyl overtook heroin as the deadliest opioid.

Now, still driven by fentanyl, it is being compounded with newer deadlier drugs like xylazine – sometimes referred to as ‘tranq.’

Doctors on the ground fear the potential death rate could continue to rise as people take other drugs unknowingly laced with tranq – a deadly sedative – which does not respond to the lifesaving reversal drug Narcan used for opioid overdoses. 

Drug addiction and overdoses touch hundreds of thousands of Americans.

A survey found two-thirds of adults reported either they or a family member suffer from addiction to illicit or pharmaceutical drugs or alcohol, according to the KFF Health Tracking Poll.

The above graph shows the 12-month ending estimated number of drug overdose deaths due to opioids

The above graph shows the 12-month ending estimated number of drug overdose deaths due to opioids

The above shows the drug overdose deaths involving fentanyl and xylazine

The above shows the drug overdose deaths involving fentanyl and xylazine

And nearly 10 percent of people over the age of 18 years old said they had lost a relative or friend to an overdose.

Four percent of respondents said they felt they may be addicted to a drug, with two percent saying they had experienced a drug overdose requiring hospitalization. 

About one-quarter said someone in their family was addicted to a drug, 16 percent required hospitalization from an overdose and nine percent of people said someone in their family had died from their addiction.  

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

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