• Heart Failure
  • Cardiovascular Clinical Consult
  • Adult Immunization
  • Hepatic Disease
  • Rare Disorders
  • Pediatric Immunization
  • Implementing The Topcon Ocular Telehealth Platform
  • Weight Management
  • Monkeypox
  • Guidelines
  • Men's Health
  • Psychiatry
  • Allergy
  • Nutrition
  • Women's Health
  • Cardiology
  • Substance Use
  • Pediatrics
  • Kidney Disease
  • Genetics
  • Complimentary & Alternative Medicine
  • Dermatology
  • Endocrinology
  • Oral Medicine
  • Otorhinolaryngologic Diseases
  • Pain
  • Gastrointestinal Disorders
  • Geriatrics
  • Infection
  • Musculoskeletal Disorders
  • Obesity
  • Rheumatology
  • Technology
  • Cancer
  • Nephrology
  • Anemia
  • Neurology
  • Pulmonology

US Drug Overdose Deaths Declined in 2023 for the First Time in 5 Years, CDC Reports


The 3% decline in 2023 compared with 2022 is "heartening news," CDC's Houry says, but the mission is far from accomplished.

Annual drug overdose deaths in the US declined in 2023 for the first time in more than 5 years, according to provisional data from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) of the CDC. There were an estimated 107 543 drug overdose-related deaths during the 12-month period ending December 2023, which is a decrease of approximately 3% from the 111 029 deaths documented in the 12 months ending in December 2022.1,2

US Drug Overdose Deaths Declined in 2023 for the First Time in 5 Years, CDC Reports

The decline was met with words of support from CDC Chief Medical Officer Deb Houry, MD, MPH, who said the announcement reflects “heartening news for our nation” and demonstrates the progress the country is making against illicit drug overdose-related deaths. “The decrease is a testament to the hard work by all of our partners in this effort and the work being done on the ground as part of a coordinated federal effort on prevention, services, and harm reduction,” Houry added in a statement from the CDC.3

The decrease included an estimated 3098 fewer deaths involving opioids year over year and approximately 1500 fewer that involved synthetic opioids, predominantly fentanyl, according to the NCHS report. During the same period, however, the provisional data reflect an increase in overdose deaths due to cocaine (28 441 to 29 918) and a smaller but concerning increase due to psychostimulants (35 550 to 36 251).1,2

Despite the milestone reduction, the estimated loss of more than 100 000 people during 2023 is a stark reminder that the mission continues. “….there are still families and friends losing their loved ones to drug overdoses at staggering numbers. This progress over the last 12 months should make us want to reinvigorate our efforts knowing that our strategies are making a difference,” Houry said.3 

A more granular look at the NCHS data reveals uneven success against drug overdose deaths across the country with some states experiencing significant decreases in 2023 vs 2022. For example Nebraska, Kansas, Maine and Indiana saw declines of at least 15%. Other states saw “notable” increases, with Washington, Alaska and Oregon experiencing an increase in deaths of 27% or more, according to the NCHS release.1

“Our thoughts remain with those who have lost loved ones and those who are struggling with addiction or know someone who is,” Houry said. “Our country is committed to ending this epidemic and preventing unnecessary death and suffering.”3

Houry referred to the Biden Harris administration’s Overdose Prevention Strategy (OPS), calling on all partners to "continue the incredible work they are doing" as part of the national effort. Following are several notes on the success of the ongoing program, reported as part of the 2023 OPS Fact Sheet.4


  • According to IQVIA National Sales Perspective data, total sales of naloxone products have increased substantially in the last year and since the implementation of the Overdose Prevention Strategy.
  • A total of 12.9 million naloxone units were sold between October 2022 and September 2023. This is almost a 15% increase from the previous 12 months, and a 38% increase compared to the time between October 2020 and September 2021.


  • According to IQVIA Total Patient Tracker data, the total number of unique buprenorphine patients has increased in the last year, and since the implementation of the Overdose Prevention Strategy.
  • In the last year, an average of 862,068 people received buprenorphine treatment each month. This is a 1% increase in unique patients from the previous year, and more than a 4.5% increase compared to the first year of the Overdose Prevention Strategy.

1. U.S. overdose deaths decrease in 2023, first time since 2018. News release. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/pressroom/nchs_press_releases/2024/20240515.htm. May 15, 2024. Accessed May 16, 2024.
2. Provisional drug overdose death counts. National Center for Health Statistics. Updated May 15, 2014. Accessed May 21, 2023. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/drug-overdose-data.htm. 3. Statement from CDC Chief Medical Officer Dr. Deb Houry on 2023 overdose death data. https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2024/s-overdose-data.html. Published May 15, 2024. Accessed May 16, 2024.
4. Biden Harris administration marks two years of advancements I HHS’ overdose prevention strategy with new actions to treat addiction and save lives. 2023 OPS fact sheet. News release. US Department of Health and Human Services. February 1, 2024. Accessed May 22, 2024. https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2024/02/01/fact-sheet-hhs-announces-new-data-showing-nation-has-expanded-its-ability-treat-addiction-save-lives.html

Related Videos
© 2024 MJH Life Sciences

All rights reserved.