Illicit Drug Use, Illicit Drug Use Disorders, and Drug Overdose Deaths in Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Areas — United States
Surveillance Summaries / October 20, 2017 / 66(19);1–12
Karin A. Mack, PhD1; Christopher M. Jones, PharmD2; Michael F. Ballesteros, PhD1 (View author affiliations)
Rates of drug overdose deaths are rising in nonmetropolitan (rural) areas, surpassing rates in metropolitan (urban) areas, according to a Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This report analyzed trends in illicit drug use and illicit drug use disorders from 2003-2014, and drug overdose deaths from 1999-2015 in urban and rural areas. Understanding differences in illicit drug use, illicit drug use disorders, and drug overdose deaths in urban and rural areas can help public health professionals to identify, monitor, and prioritize responses.
- Drug overdose death rates (per 100,000 population) for urban areas were higher than in rural areas in 1999 (6.4 versus 4.0). The rates converged in 2004, and by 2015 the rural rate (17.0) was slightly higher than the urban rate (16.2).
- The percentage of people reporting past-month use of illicit drugs declined for youth aged 12-17 over a 10-year period but increased substantially in other age groups.
- Among people reporting illicit drug use in the past year, drug use disorders decreased during the study period.