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Fatal work injuries from unintentional overdose increased on average 24 percent per year, 2011–18

August 31, 2020

August 31 is International Overdose Awareness Day, a global event to raise awareness of overdose and drug-related deaths. There were 305 fatal workplace injuries in 2018 from unintentional overdose from nonmedical use of drugs or alcohol. That was an increase of 12 percent from 2017. From 2011 to 2018, the number of fatal injuries from unintentional overdose increased on average 24 percent per year.

Number of fatal work injuries from nonmedical use of drugs or alcohol, unintentional overdose, 2011–18
Year Number of fatal injuries Annual percent change

2011

73 -

2012

65 -11%

2013

82 26%

2014

114 39%

2015

165 45%

2016

217 32%

2017

272 25%

2018

305 12%

There were 1,293 fatal work injuries from unintentional overdose from 2011 to 2018. The states with the most fatalities over this span were California (104), Massachusetts (85), New York (84), and Ohio (80).

Number of fatal work injuries from unintentional overdose by state, 2011–18
State Number of fatal injuries

Alabama

12

Alaska

8

Arizona

20

Arkansas

5

California

104

Colorado

14

Connecticut

16

District of Columbia

3

Florida

64

Georgia

25

Illinois

60

Indiana

45

Iowa

12

Kentucky

23

Louisiana

33

Maine

9

Maryland

47

Massachusetts

85

Michigan

31

Minnesota

14

Mississippi

11

Missouri

24

Montana

3

Nebraska

3

Nevada

27

New Hampshire

15

New Jersey

25

New Mexico

7

New York

84

North Carolina

41

Ohio

80

Oklahoma

8

Oregon

7

Pennsylvania

77

Rhode Island

5

South Carolina

27

South Dakota

1

Tennessee

29

Texas

55

Utah

12

Vermont

10

Virginia

40

Washington

11

West Virginia

31

Wisconsin

21

Of the fatal unintentional overdoses from 2011 through 2018, 41 percent were from nonmedical drugs (528 fatal injuries). Thirty-two percent were from multiple drugs, alcohol, and medicines (411 fatal injuries).

These data are from the Injuries, Illnesses and Fatalities program. To learn more, see “National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2018.” We also have more data on fatal work injuries from unintentional overdose.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Fatal work injuries from unintentional overdose increased on average 24 percent per year, 2011–18 on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2020/fatal-work-injuries-from-unintentional-overdose-increased-on-average-24-percent-per-year-2011-18.htm (visited March 01, 2021).

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