Raising Awareness: Opioid Overdose Facts

By now, you’ve probably heard of the opioid epidemic and know that opioid-related overdoses and deaths are at an all-time high. As the crisis gains attention nationwide, alarming statistics are constantly surfacing on just how severe the issue has become. Below are ten very important national and Georgia-specific statistics. We’ll continue to update this list as more information becomes available.

  1. Every day, more than 128 people in the United States die after overdosing on opioids.1
  2. Roughly 21-29% of patients prescribed opioids for chronic pain misuse them.1
  3. Between 8-12% of patients develop an opioid use disorder.1
  4. From 1999 to 2018, almost 232,000 people died in the United States from overdoses related to prescription opioids. Overdose deaths involving prescription opioids were four times higher in 2018 than in 1999.2
  5. Opioid overdoses increased 30% from July 2016 to September 2017 in 52 areas in 45 states.3
  6. Drug overdoses killed more than 70,630 people in the United States in 2019. A majority of the deaths – 49,860 (70.6%) – was caused by opioids.4
  7. Drug overdoses in 2017 killed more people than guns, car crashes or HIV/AIDS ever killed in a single year in the United States.5
  8. Opioid-involved overdose deaths have been rapidly increasing in Georgia since 2010 (from 246 to 1,043 – a 245% increase), driven initially by increased use and misuse of prescription opioids (e.g., Oxycodone and Hydrocodone), but in recent years there have been substantial increases in the number of heroin- and fentanyl-involved overdose deaths.6
  9. In Georgia in 2019, overdoses involving any opioid accounted for 4,858 emergency department visits, 2,174 hospitalizations and 860 deaths.6
  10. Georgia is among the top 11 states with the most opioid overdose deaths, and 55 Georgia counties have an overdose rate higher than the national average.7

Now that you know more about opioid overdoses, you can learn all about the signs of an overdose, what to do in an overdose situation and the Georgia 911 Medical Amnesty Law here.


Updated 11/17/20


  1. National Institute on Drug Abuse
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  5. Vox
  6. Georgia Department of Public Health
  7. Attorney General of Georgia
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