Song for Charlie > Resources > Current Data
Updated October 2022. All mortality data derived from CDC; final through December 2020 + provisional through December 2021


Spotlight Stats

For the 12 months ending December 2021, CDC projects for all ages:

  • 107K-109K total drug-induced deaths, +16% vs. prior year.

  • Over 72K (66%) of these deaths involved fentanyl & other synthetic opioids, mostly illicit, and often in combination with other drugs; this is +26% vs. prior year.

Youth (Age 14-23) drug-induced deaths:

  • In 2021, 6,000 youth died from drugs, 4,800 involving fentanyl, which is 79% of total youth drug deaths for that year.
  • Drug deaths are second behind car accidents in accidental deaths, about equal to homicide & suicides in leading overall deaths

  • Youth drug deaths have quadrupled over 20 years, driven recently by Fentanyl involvement which has grown over 6X since 2015 (+558%)

  • Meanwhile, in the same 5 years, deaths involving Meth, Cocaine, Heroin, Benzos, & Legit Opioids combined have been mostly flat (+16%)

  • Fentanyl is involved in more youth death than all other drug types combined; many deaths involve multiple drugs

  • Since 2018, Teen (14-18) drug deaths have grown faster than any other age group (+152%) driven by fentanyl (+356%); this is about 3x faster than the U.S. all ages growth rates

  • Counterfeit pill seizures have grown 50-fold since beginning of 2018 to end of 2021, over 10M pills per year

“Warn the Kids” Research:

  • 4 out of 5 young Americans say people their age feel overwhelmed

  • Common stressors for young Americans include academics, social concerns, finances, and their future. Coping with stress & anxiety is a leading reason for young Americans to misuse prescription medication

  • 16% of young Americans have misused prescription medicine, 22% have thought about it, and 20% say they are likely to or are unsure about misusing prescription medication in the future

  • 89% of young Americans feel that misusing prescription medicine is ‘risky’, but only 68% consider taking Rx opioids off script as ‘dangerous’ (even less for benzos (eg Xanax) and stimulants (eg Adderall))

  • Less than half (48%) of young Americans – including just more than a third (36%) of teens – are aware that fentanyl is being used to create counterfeit pills

  • Only 2 in 5 young Americans consider themselves knowledgeable about fentanyl. 68% consider fentanyl to be dangerous, far less than heroin (84%) and cocaine (81%) even though fentanyl is involved in 17x more deaths than heroin and 5x more than cocaine. Nearly 20% of young Americans don’t know enough about fentanyl to rate its danger

  • After reviewing targeted information about fentanyl in fake pills, 65% of young Americans are less likely to consider misusing Rx drugs

  • Those who know the dangers of fentanyl are significantly less likely to consider misusing Rx drugs in the future


Summarized CDC Drug Overdose and Poisoning Data

Presentation Slides

Key Links

CDC Wonder Database: 20 years of detailed mortality data and demographics including age, state, county, race, drug types, etc. Requires familiarity with the topic and query tools

CDC Provisional Drug Overdose Data: 5 years of provisional data at national level and most states, with drug types; some trend charting and an interactive map. County-level 15 month all drug mortality simple trend charts. Other drug overdose surveillance data links.

NIH National Institute of Drug Abuse Trends & Statistics. Summarized and graphical overdose death rates and state summaries. This data generally is not as recent as CDC data.

Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Quick Statistics about treatment, services etc.

Surveys about youth drug use & perceptions

CDC SUDORS Dashboard: Fatal Overdose Data