In 2015 more than 52,000 Americans died of drug overdoses, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

That is an average of one death every ten minutes. Approximately 33,000 of these fatal overdoses—nearly two-thirds of them—were from opioids, including prescription painkillers and heroin. Although the absolute death toll from opioids is greatest in big cities like Chicago and Baltimore, the devastation is most concentrated in rural Appalachia, New England and the Midwest (see map).

Many of the victims hail from white middle-class suburbs and rural towns. Drugs Involved in U.S. Overdose Deaths* – Among the more than 64,000 drug overdose deaths estimated in 2016, the sharpest increase occurred among deaths related to fentanyl and fentanyl analogs (synthetic opioids) with over 20,000 overdose deaths.