Drug-Related Overdoses



For decades, the number of fatal opioid overdoses nationwide had been steadily increasing, according to numbers from the National Vital Statistics System. But in 2018, the number of overall opioid deaths dropped to 46,802.

Unfortunately, the number of deaths from synthetic opioids - like fentanyl - continues to rise. Between 2017 and 2018, synthetic opioid deaths increased 9%.1

West Virginia had the highest rate of drug overdose deaths in the nation in 2015.4 The state had 844 drug overdose deaths in 2016. Out of that number, 708 (almost 85 percent) were due to at least one opioid. And about 40 percent of the total overdoses were due to fentanyl.  The two counties with the most overdose deaths were: Cabell (132) and Kanawha (129)  – all mostly due to opioids.3


1Source: Drug Overdose Deaths in the United States (1999-2018), National Vital Statistics System

2“Fentanyl: The Next Wave of the Opioid Crisis.” Statement from Louis J. Milione Assistant Administrator, Drug Enforcement Administration.  March 21, 2017.
3Data Source: West Virginia Health Statistics Center, Vital Statistics System, Drug Overdose Database, March 20, 2017.

4 Source: Drug Overdose Data, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention