Heroin Overdose Deaths Triple Since 2010

Drug poisoning deaths involving opioid analgesics have steadied in recent years, but the rate of deaths involving heroin has almost tripled since 2010, according to a recent Nation Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) data brief.

The NCHS data brief evaluated data from the National Vital Statistics System to identify trends and demographics for heroin-related drug poisoning deaths from 2000–2013. Key findings include:

  • From 2000–2013, the age-adjusted rate for drug poisoning deaths involving heroin nearly quadrupled from 0.7 deaths per 100,000 in 2000 to 2.7 deaths per 100,000 in 2013; most of the increase occurred after 2010.
  • The number of drug poisoning deaths involving heroin was nearly 4 times higher for men (6,525 deaths) than women (1,732 deaths) in 2013.
  • In 2000, non-Hispanic black persons aged 45–64 had the highest rate for drug poisoning deaths involving heroin (2.0 per 100,000). In 2013, non-Hispanic white persons aged 18–44 had the highest rate (7.0 per 100,000).
  • From 2000–2013, the age-adjusted rate for drug poisoning deaths involving heroin increased for all regions of the country, with the greatest increase seen in the Midwest.

Overall, the rates for death involving a heroin overdose have increased for all age, race, and ethnicity groups since 2000. From 2000–2013, the age-adjusted rate showed a 6% yearly increase from 2000–2010, followed by a 37% yearly increase from 2010–2013. The study authors note that identifying high-risk populations of heroin-related drug poisoning death can help target prevention strategies.

For more information visit CDC.gov.

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