8 U.S. regions hit hardest by the opioid epidemic

91 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose. Where are mortality rates and deaths count highest?

By Megan Wells, EMS1 Contributor 

Drug overdose deaths and opioid-involved deaths continue to increase in the United States. States like Maryland have passed bills to address the statewide crisis and increase access to naloxone, while other states like Utah have launched official task forces to crack down on the opioid problem. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the majority of drug overdose deaths (more than six out of ten) involve an opioid. Since 1999, the number of overdose deaths involving opioids (including prescription opioids and heroin) has quadrupled. From 2000 to 2015 more than half a million people died from drug overdoses. 

EMS1 found the counties with the highest mortality rate and the highest number of overdose deaths from 2016. We have also created an interactive map that allows you to see how your state has been affected by the opioid epidemic. 


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  • Data for this article was found at County Health Rankings as an aggregate of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. 
  • Age-adjusted death rates were calculated as deaths per 100,000 population, using the direct method and the 2000 standard population.
  • To find 2017 data, the CDC calculated a summary of changes in the 2017 measures from those used in 2016 and a summary of all changes since the first release in 2010. 

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