Yes, deaths from drug overdose have been rising steadily over the last decade, largely due to increases in misuse of opioids. In 2017, more than 70,200 people died from a drug overdose, significantly more than the 63,000 people who died the year before. More than three out of five of those drug overdose deaths involved some type of opioid, either prescription pain reliever, heroin, or human-made opioids like fentanyl. Among young people ages 15-24, just over 5,400 deaths from a drug overdose occurred in 2017.1 Young males were two times more likely to die from a drug overdose than were females.
In addition, death can occur from the long-term effects of drugs. For example, long term use of tobacco products can cause cancer, which may result in death. Learn more about drug overdoses in youth.
1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. Underlying Cause of Death 1999-2017 on CDC WONDER Online Database, released 2018. Available at http://wonder.cdc.gov.