Fentanyl Overdose Death Rates More Than Tripled From 2016 to 2021

Posted on by Brian Tsai

The image shows the purple ribbon on the right side on the surface of the concrete and states Rates of overdose deaths involving fentanyl more than tripled from 2016 to 2021.Drug overdose death rates involving fentanyl increased by 279% from 5.7 per 100,000 in 2016 to 21.6 in 2021, according to new data from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). Drug overdose death rates involving methamphetamine more than quadrupled during the same period.

Rapid Release Estimates of Drug Overdose Deaths involving Fentanyl, Methamphetamine, Cocaine, Heroin, and Oxycodone: United States, 2021,” features data using literal text of death certificates from the National Vital Statistics System. The report shows that drug overdose death rates involving cocaine more than doubled from 2016 to 2021, whereas oxycodone decreased 21%.

Report Findings:

  • In 2021, the rate of drug overdose deaths involving fentanyl was 21.6 per 100,000 in 2021, a 24% increase from 2020 (17.4).
  • In 2021, overdose rates for males were about 2.5 times higher than females for fentanyl, methamphetamine, heroin and cocaine.
  • Rates of drug overdose deaths involving fentanyl among were highest among those aged 35-44 (43.5 per 100,000) and 25-34(40.8) in 2021.
  • In 2021, American Indian or Alaska Native, non-Hispanic people had higher death rates involving methamphetamine (27.4) compared to White, non-Hispanic people (12.0), Black, non-Hispanic people (7.0), Hispanic people (6.2), and Asian, non-Hispanic people (1.4).
  • In 2021, drug overdose death rates involving fentanyl were highest in Public Health Regions 1 (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont) and 3 (Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia).


Posted on by Brian TsaiTags ,
Page last reviewed: May 3, 2023
Page last updated: May 3, 2023