Suicide and Opioids

Selected Injury-Related Death Rates, United States 2004-2018


This graph represents age-adjusted death rates over a 15-year period. Suicide and unintentional drug poisonings have generally seen sustained increases that are not seen in other injury-related causes of death, although in 2018, the age-adjusted rate of unintentional poisonings decreased, while the age-adjusted rate of suicide increased.1


Suicide Deaths by Method, United States 2018


This pie chart illustrates means of suicide deaths by various methods. Poisonings accounted for 13% of suicide deaths in 2018.  The accompanying bar graph illustrates the contribution of various substances to poisoning suicides. As the graph shows, sedatives and narcotics are contributors in over a quarter of poisoning deaths.1


Serious Thoughts of Suicide and Pain Reliever Abuse, Adults (18+)


This bar graph includes adults (18+) who reported serious thoughts of suicide in the past year. When adults with past-year pain reliever abuse (including opioids) are compared with the general population, they are at higher risk for suicidal thoughts – and this pattern has held true every year for the past several years.2



  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. (2020). 1999-2018 Wide Ranging Online Data for Epidemiological Research (WONDER), Multiple Cause of Death files [Data file]. Retrieved from
  2. Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. (2019). 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Detailed Tables. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Rockville, MD.

PowerPoint Icon ImageThe charts and graphs in this section are also available as a PowerPoint slide set. Feel free to use this slide set to deliver a presentation about the scope of the suicide problem.