Today, on International Overdose Awareness Day, we remember those who have lost their lives to drug overdose. Each year, drug overdoses claim the lives of hundreds of Minnesotans. Statewide in 2016, there were:
- 395 opioid-involved deaths (including prescription opioids, heroin, fentanyl and fentanyl analogs)
- 140 psychostimulant (e.g. methamphetamine) deaths
- 103 benzodiazepine (e.g. Valium and Xanax) deaths
- 44 cocaine-involved deaths
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 63,600 Americans died from a drug overdose in 2016. While the U.S. has less than 5% of the world’s population, it sees approximately one-quarter of the world’s drug overdose deaths. The nation has experienced a steady increase in overdose deaths over the past decade, fueled largely by opioids. Drug overdoses were a significant contributor to the decline in life expectancy for Americans in 2015 and 2016 – the first decline for consecutive years in approximately 55 years.
Drug overdose is preventable. Substance use disorder is preventable and treatable. Today is a time to remember, and a time to act. To learn more about overdoses in Minnesota and what you can do to prevent them, visit the MDH Opioid Dashboard. Honor a loved one who has died from overdose by visiting the National Safety Council’s Celebrating Lost Loved Ones.