US Mortality Trends Show Dramatic Rise in Opioid Deaths

US County Map

Drug Use Disorders Wreak Havoc All Across the Country

An extensive study looking at 35 years of US mortality data found sharp differences between regions – although all counties showed a rise in opioid-related deaths.

As reported by CNN, from 1980 to 2014, 2.84 million Americans died of alcohol, drugs, suicide, domestic violence or abuse, according to a study published Tuesday in the medical journal JAMA. Perhaps most alarming, drug deaths increased by more than 600% in this time period.

More than half a million people lost their lives to “drug use disorders” in this period, the study says. Although the rates of death varied widely, with increases between 8.2% and 8,369.7%, drug deaths were up in nearly every single county in the United States.

Boone County, West Virginia was the county with the largest increase, 8369.7%, in deaths due to drug overdose followed by Wyoming County, West Virginia which saw a rise of 6973.1%. 

“This study is the first to consider alcohol and drug use disorders, apart from other types of unintentional poisonings and distinct from intentional overdoses, at the county level in the United States,” the researchers explained in the study.

“It is important to show the local burden of these diseases so health officials and others can better plan programs and interventions in their own communities,” said study co-author Ali Mokdad, a professor of global health at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.

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To read more about how the details of mortality trends differ all across the country, please visit

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