Drug-Induced Mortality in the US, by Gender and Race/Ethnicity

"In 2018, a total of 71,147 persons died of drug-induced causes in the United States (Tables 6, 8, and I– 2). This category includes deaths from poisoning and medical conditions caused by use of legal or illegal drugs, as well as deaths from poisoning due to medically prescribed and other drugs. It excludes deaths indirectly related to drug use, as well as newborn deaths due to the mother’s drug use. (For a list of drug-induced causes, see Technical Notes.)

"In 2018, the age-adjusted death rate for drug-induced causes for the total population decreased significantly, by 4.4%, from 22.8 in 2017 to 21.8 in 2018 (Tables 5, 10, and I–2). For males in 2018, the age-adjusted death rate for drug-induced causes was 2.0 times the rate for females. The rate for drug-induced causes decreased 3.9% for males and 5.9% for females in 2018 from 2017. The age-adjusted death rate for non-Hispanic white males was 2.0% higher than for non Hispanic black males and 101.7% higher than for Hispanic males. The rate for non-Hispanic white females was 54.5% higher than for non-Hispanic black females and 239.3% higher than for Hispanic females.

"The age-adjusted death rate for drug-induced causes increased significantly in 2018 from 2017 for Hispanic males (4.2%). The rate for Hispanic females did not change significantly."


Murphy SL, Xu JQ, Kochanek KD, Arias E, Tejada-Vera B. Deaths: Final data for 2018. National Vital Statistics Reports; vol 69 no 13. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2020.