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Opioid-related deaths have increased for all racial groups

Opioid-related deaths in the United States have increased across the board between 1999-2015, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control. This chart shows how the number of deaths per 100,000 has not risen equally across race and age groups.

Some takeaways:

  • In 2015, white people among the 15 to 64 age group accounted for 80.2% of all opioid-related deaths, higher than their 61.9% share of the population. Native American people were the only other racial group with a higher share of deaths (1.1%) than their share of the population (0.9%).
  • Black people were the only racial group whose death rate trended upwards with age, with the oldest age groups (45 to 54 and 55 to 64) with the highest death rates (26.1 and 26.5 per 100,000 people).
  • The demos with the greatest increases in death rates from 1999-2015 were white people aged 55 to 64 (488%), Native American people aged 45 to 54 (380%), and white people aged 25 to 34 (339%).

Methodology: We used the CDC's WONDER system to pull data for each group over time. We used the CDC's criteria for deaths involving all opioid poisonings, from both illicit and prescription drugs. You can take a look at the data we collected here.

Go deeper: Using the same data we looked at the death rates by age and sex.