Restorations Therapy Blog

Death Rates Due to Drug Use

by on Tuesday, April 28th, 2020


The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that the rate of overdose deaths increased by three times between the years 1999 and 2016. In the United States, drug overdose deaths involving opioids continue to increase.

Death rates are up among all populations, including all races, sexes, and nearly all ages. 

Opioids: The Main Culprit for Overdose Deaths

Two out of three overdose deaths due to drugs involve opioids. Opioids include prescriptions like Vicodin, illegal drugs such as heroin, and synthetic opioids, including fentanyl.

Deaths due to overdoses from opioids greatly increased from over 18,000 in 1999 to over 47,000 in 2017. Therefore, opioid overdoses killed more than 67% of out of over 70,000 overall drug overdose deaths in 2017 alone, and over two-thirds of those cases involved males.

Sadly, there are almost 200 drug overdose deaths every day.


Overdose deaths involving benzodiazepines, such as Xanax or Valium, accounted for 11,537 deaths in 2017. The combination of these prescription drugs with any opioid accounted for the majority of these deaths.

Deaths involving antidepressants, like Prozac, are also rising, but at much slower rates than Benzodiazepines. Furthermore, these deaths also involve the use of synthetic opioids.

The dangers of mixing opioids and benzodiazepines include, but are not limited to:

  • Changes in breathing patterns
  • Decreased or depressed breathing
  • Coma

All of these dangers can lead to:

  • A lack of oxygen to the brain
  • Shutting down of vital organs
  • Subsequent brain damage
  • Death

Trends in Overdose Deaths by State

In 2017, West Virginia had the highest rates of drug overdose death, with almost 60 people per 100,000. Per every 100,00 people, Ohio had the second-highest rates with 46 deaths, while Pennsylvania was third with a little over 44 deaths, and the District of Columbia was not far behind with exactly 44. Kentucky had about 37 deaths per every 100,000 people. 

Are You Looking for Help?

Substance use is ravaging our nation, leading to multiple issues for our population. Unfortunately, even prescription medications for pain may lead to addiction and possible health issues, including extreme consequences such as coma or even death.

Since the data shows us that the death rates are up for every population within the United States, we need to remain aware and continue to develop interventions to battle this epidemic.

Take the first step towards saving your life — call us today to get help. Located in Centennial, Colorado, Restorations Therapy works with individuals who are struggling with addiction, intimacy disorders, and trauma.

In order to offer patients a more holistic approach to care, Restorations Therapy offers individualized and group therapy, workshops, psycho-educational classes, and more to restore the harm brought on by addiction and intimacy issues. For more information, please call us today at (720) 446-6585.

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