Opioid overdose deaths started increasing rapidly in 2014, particularly those involving synthetic opioids. While there are some tentative indications that the worst of the opioid crisis might be over, a new study from RAND suggests that problems with synthetics will get worse before they get better as sales of synthetic opioids continue to spread nationally.
Our series of interactive data visualizations depicts how the specific mix of opioids involved in overdose deaths changed from 2000 to 2017, shifting away from prescription opioids and increasingly involving a combination of heroin and synthetics. We show how accidental overdose deaths rose rapidly within the same time frame, likely due to the unpredictability and variation in potency of synthetics.
All data represented in the graphics are available for download.