Overdose Deaths Are in Decline


Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released provisional data from their National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) indicating an estimated 107,543 drug overdose deaths in the United States in 2023 – a decrease of 3 percent from the 111,029 deaths estimated in 2022.  This is the first annual decrease in drug overdose deaths since 2018.  Several states across the nation saw decreases; Nebraska, Kansas, Indiana, and Maine experienced declines of 15 percent or more.  Still, some states saw increases. Alaska, Washington, and Oregon stood out with notable increases of at least 27% compared to the same period in 2022.  Various factors make a difference in provisional counts versus final counts, such as records indicating “pending investigation.” The data are based on death records NCHS receives each month from state vital registration offices with no distinction between urban and rural.