Drug poisoning (overdose) is the number one cause of injury-related death in the United States, with 43,982 deaths occurring in 2013. While much attention has been given to deaths involving opioid analgesics, in recent years there has been a steady increase in the number of drug-poisoning deaths involving heroin. A recent study using data from 28 states reported that the death rate for heroin overdose doubled from 2010 through 2012.
Using data from the National Vital Statistics System, a new NCHS report provides a description of trends and demographics for heroin-related drug-poisoning deaths in the United States from 2000 through 2013.
Key Findings from the Report:
- From 2000 through 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 four 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 through 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.