Perspective on Drug Deaths

Total deaths in U.S:

  • Number of deaths: 2,596,993
  • Population: 318,900,000
  • Death rate: 821.5 deaths per 100,000 population
  • Total Deaths per day: 7,115

Prescription Opioid Overdose Data

In 2014, more than 14,000 people died from overdoses involving prescription opioids (38/day). 

However, 42,773 people died as a result of suicide.

Number of deaths for 10 leading causes of death (from 2014):

  • Heart disease: 614,348
  • Cancer: 591,699
  • Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 147,101
  • Accidents (unintentional injuries): 136,053
  • Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 133,103
  • Alzheimer’s disease: 93,541
  • Diabetes: 76,488
  • Influenza and pneumonia: 55,227
  • Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 48,146
  • Intentional self-harm (suicide): 42,773


The top 10 leading causes of death in the US – Sep 2015

Nearly 75% of all deaths in the US are attributed to just 10 causes, with the top 3 of these accounting for over 50% of all deaths.

Over the last five years, the main causes of death in the US have remained fairly consistent, although unintentional injuries (accidents) became the fourth leading cause of death in 2013, while stroke became the fifth.


  • Percentage of total deaths: 1.58%.
  • (3.7% of the adult US population) reported having suicidal thoughts in the past year
  • An estimated 1 million adults (0.5% of the US adult population) reported making a suicide attempt in the past year
  • There is one suicide for every 25 attempted suicides
  • In 2013, 18,241 men, and 2,934 women died as a result of suicide by firearm  

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