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CDC: Overdose Death Rates Now Highest in Cities

September 12 , 2019 02:31 pm

By: Drug Enforcement Agency

During 2016 and 2017, drug overdose death rates were higher in U.S. cities than rural areas, according to a report from the National Center for Health Statistics. The overdose death rate in 2017 was 22 per 100,000 people in urban counties compared to 20 per 100,000 in rural counties.

And while the number of drug overdoses has been steadily increasing in all communities in recent years, between 2014 and 2017, the rate of increase in urban counties was twice that of rural counties (17% per year versus 9%). In previous years, the rates in rural counties were higher than urban counties.

"The opioid epidemic is dynamic and has fluctuated across different populations, age groups, geographies, and opioid types over time -- these results are consistent with that," Matthew Kiang of Stanford University told Medpage Today. "It is hard, however, to draw a single reason for this urban/rural shift because America itself was quite dynamic during this time."

DEA. (2019). CDC: Overdose death rates now highest in cities. Medpage. Retrieved from

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