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Drug Overdose Deaths by State

AAC-Overdose-Deaths-Map-Graphic-4Deaths from drug and alcohol overdoses are at an all-time high according to new research conducted by AAC. While we’re still waiting on the final numbers from 2018 to be released, data collected from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s online database revealed that well over 100,000 people in the U.S. died from drug and alcohol-induced causes in 2017 – an eye-opening 37% increase over 2013. That number accounts for 4% of deaths across all causes and is equivalent to an average of 300 people per day or 12.5 people per hour.

These numbers are the reason why it’s so important for those suffering from addiction to seek the treatment they need as soon as possible. To really bring this point home, we’ll break down drugs and alcohol and take a look at how substance abuse impacts each state.

states-with-the-most-drug-induced-deathsNebraska and both North and South Dakota saw the lowest number of drug-related deaths in 2017, while West Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania saw the highest number. On the whole, western U.S. states saw fewer drug overdoses than those in the east, which is really interesting when you compare those trends with alcohol overdose deaths.

Top Drug Overdose Deaths by State Predicted for 2018

Based on the predicted numbers released by the CDC for drug-induced deaths in 2018, West Virginia and the District of Columbia again topped the lists for the states with the most drug-induced deaths per 100,000 people. Maryland replaced Ohio as the state with the third highest number of drug-induced deaths. North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska have the lowest number of predicted drug-induced deaths, following the same trend as 2017.

Percentage Change in Drug-Induced Deaths from 2017 to 2018

While the 2018 numbers that have been released are predictions and thus could change as the final data gets released, the initial numbers are an encouraging sign. Only 5 states are predicted to see a positive percentage increase in drug-induced deaths from 2017 to 2018 – Arizona, Florida, Missouri, Nevada, and New Mexico. West Virginia, the state with the most drug-induced deaths per 100,000 people in 2017, is predicted to have seen an almost 9% percentage decrease from its 2017 numbers.

Top Alcohol-Induced Deaths by State

Things shifted a bit when we looked at the toll alcohol took in 2017. Across the board, alcohol-induced fatalities were significantly lower than those of drug overdose. We also noted a regional divide in which eastern states saw fewer instances of alcohol-related deaths than those in the west – the opposite of what was seen with drug overdoses. Maryland, Hawaii, and Mississippi had the lowest numbers of alcohol-induced deaths, with an average 7 deaths per 100,000 people, while New Mexico, Montana, and Wyoming nearly tripled those states, averaging 26 alcohol-induced deaths per 100,000 people.


When we combined the two, rates varied across the U.S. with no clear regional patterns. Here’s a breakdown of the 10 states with the most combined deaths as well as the 10 states with the lowest numbers of combined drug and alcohol-induced deaths.

10 States with the Most Drug and Alcohol-Induced Fatalities (greatest to least):

1. West Virginia
Total Deaths: 1287
Deaths per 100,000 people: 70.88
Percent increase from 2013: 76.9%

2. New Mexico
Total Deaths: 1174
Deaths per 100,000 people: 56.22
Percent increase from 2013: 21.9%

3. Ohio
Total Deaths: 6518
Deaths per 100,000 people: 55.91
Percent increase from 2013: 93.2%

4. District of Columbia
Total Deaths: 385
Deaths per 100,000 people: 55.48
Percent increase from 2013: 101.5%

5. Pennsylvania
Total Deaths: 6425
Deaths per 100,000 people: 50.17
Percent increase from 2013: 93.3%

6. New Hampshire
Total Deaths: 655
Deaths per 100,000 people: 48.78
Percent increase from 2013: 65.1%

7. Kentucky
Total Deaths: 2146
Deaths per 100,000 people: 48.18
Percent increase from 2013: 53.5%

8. Maine
Total Deaths: 637
Deaths per 100,000 people: 47.68
Percent increase from 2013: 93.7%

9. Delaware
Total Deaths: 446
Deaths per 100,000 people: 46.36
Percent increase from 2013: 84.2%

10. Maryland
Total Deaths: 2689
Deaths per 100,000 people: 44.43
Percent increase from 2013: 114.2%

10 States with the Least Drug and Alcohol-Induced Fatalities (least to greatest):
1. Texas
Total Deaths: 5445
Deaths per 100,000 people: 19.24
Percent increase from 2013: 16.3%

2. Mississippi
Total Deaths: 601
Deaths per 100,000 people: 20.14
Percent increase from 2013: 19.8%

3. Nebraska
Total Deaths: 408
Deaths per 100,000 people: 21.25
Percent increase from 2013: 24.9%

4. Hawaii
Total Deaths: 316
Deaths per 100,000 people: 22.14
Percent increase from 2013: 31.1%

5. Kansas
Total Deaths: 674
Deaths per 100,000 people: 23.14
Percent increase from 2013: 17.9%

6. Georgia
Total Deaths: 2477
Deaths per 100,000 people: 23.75
Percent increase from 2013: 29.5%

7. Iowa
Total Deaths: 761
Deaths per 100,000 people: 24.19
Percent increase from 2013: 24.6%

8. North Dakota
Total Deaths: 184
Deaths per 100,000 people: 24.36
Percent increase from 2013: 38.7%

9. Arkansas
Total Deaths: 742
Deaths per 100,000 people: 24.70
Percent increase from 2013: 37.4%

10. Minnesota
Total Deaths: 1466
Deaths per 100,000 people: 26.29
Percent increase from 2013: 28.8%

The fact is, these numbers don’t have to continue to rise. If those who suffer from substance abuse receive the necessary treatment, it’s entirely possible to reverse the current trend. Take the state of Oregon, for example. In 2013, there were an estimated 6,173 deaths due to overdose and only 1,555 in 2017. That’s a 76% reduction in the number of fatalities, proof it’s possible to change the course we’re currently on. If you or a loved one is suffering from substance abuse or may be at risk of overdosing, please contact RiverOaks as soon as possible to set up a call and start your recovery story today.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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