Fentanyl is the most commonly used drug involved in drug overdoses, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics.
According to the CDC report, which analyzed death certificates for drug overdose deaths between 2011 and 2016, fentanyl was involved in nearly 29% of all overdose deaths in 2016. In 2011, fentanyl was involved in just 4% of all drug fatalities.
According to the report:
- Among drug overdose deaths that mentioned at least one specific drug, oxycodone ranked first in 2011, heroin from 2012 through 2015, and fentanyl in 2016.
- In 2011 and 2012, fentanyl was mentioned in approximately 1,600 drug overdose deaths each year, but mentions increased in 2013 (1,919 deaths), 2014 (4,223 deaths), 2015 (8,251 deaths), and 2016 (18,335 deaths). In 2016, 29% of all drug overdose deaths mentioned involvement of fentanyl.
- The number of drug overdose deaths involving heroin increased threefold, from 4,571 deaths or 11% of all drug overdose deaths in 2011 to 15,961 deaths or 25% of all drug overdose deaths in 2016.
- Throughout the study period, cocaine ranked second or third among the top 15 drugs. From 2014 through 2016, the number of drug overdose deaths involving cocaine nearly doubled from 5,892 to 11,316.
- The number of drug overdose deaths involving methamphetamine increased 3.6-fold, from 1,887 deaths in 2011 to 6,762 deaths in 2016.
- The number of drug overdose deaths involving methadone decreased from 4,545 deaths in 2011 to 3,493 deaths in 2016.