The 10 Deadliest U.S. Cities for Drug Overdoses

According a recent Surgeon General's report, prescription drug and heroin overdose is the number one cause of unintentional deaths in America. And it's not an urban problem, either. Cities, rural areas and small towns all seem to be equally affected. Opioids killed more than 33,000 people across the country in 2015, more than any year on record, says the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Read on to find out which cities are struggling the most in the battle with this epidemic.

10. Toledo, Ohio

Ohio shows up a shocking 3 times in the list of 10 most dangerous cities for overdoses, according to, which used data compiled by the CDC through 2015. According to the Toledo Blade, the state has just launched a lawsuit against the pharmaceutical manufacturers of OxyContin, Percocet, Dilaudid and Percodan.

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9. Albuquerque, New Mexico

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Located along the famous Route 66, Albuquerque has been a thoroughfare for the opioid trade. Albuquerque experienced 201 overdose deaths and its rate per capita was 29.8. While New Mexico is one of the only Southwestern states on the list, its appearance proves that the crisis in America isn't limited to the Midwest. However, the CDC reports that state overdose deaths were down between 2014 and 2015.

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8. Knoxville, Tennessee

Tennessee and Alabama are the two Southern states that show up in the top 10. According to the Knoxville News Sentinel, the city saw 237 overdose deaths in 2016. Statewide, the death toll of the opioid crises totaled 1,400.

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7. Warren, Michigan

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Warren is Detroit's largest suburb and, on its own, Michigan's third largest metro area. According to The Detroit News, Michigan will get $16.4 million in federal grants for prevention and treatment programs to deal with the opioid epidemic.

6. Cincinnati, Ohio

In 2016, Cincinnati saw the explosion of carfentanil, a synthetic opioid meant for animals that's even stronger than fentanyl. Its rise in a city already struggling with an opioid crisis led to 174 overdoses in just six days, straining the resources of law enforcement and first responders.

5. Birmingham, Alabama

Across the state, Alabama is suffering with the burden of widespread opioid addiction. It's common practice for law enforcement there to carry Narcan, a drug that helps stop overdoses, with them on calls. It's also been made accessible at pharmacies. “Anyone can go into a pharmacy at this point because there's a standing prescription for anyone in Alabama who walks in and says they may need that for a loved one, a friend, or even for themselves,” Dr. Stefan Kertesz, with UAB Medical School, tells WVTM 13 News.

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4. New Bedford, Massachusetts

In the South Coast region of Massachusetts, New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell has called the opioid crisis “the number one public health problem in the city.” According to the CDC, Massachusetts has seen one of the country's biggest increases in drug overdose deaths from 2014-2015

3. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

According to ABC 6 News, "there were 907 overdose deaths in Philadelphia last year, with 80% brought on by opioids." In January Mayor Jim Kenney announced a task force of law and health officials that has been assembled to help combat the city's problems.

2. Baltimore, Maryland

After seeing a 20% increase in opioid deaths from 2014 to 2015, Maryland lawmakers have responded with legislation designed to combat the crisis. According to the Washington Post, in 2016 "Baltimore had 481 fatal overdoses from January through September, the highest number of all jurisdictions in the state and a 65 percent increase compared with the same period in 2015."

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1. Dayton, Ohio

Statewide, Ohio saw an increase of 21.5% in opioid overdose fatalities, says the latest CDC report. "We're on a pace to have 800 people die this year due to overdose in our county," Dayton Sheriff Phil Plummer told NBC News in June of 2017. "Per capita, we're Number 1 in the nation in overdose deaths."

What Do YOU Think?

Are you surprised by any of the cities on this list? Which ones? Do you live in any of these cities? What do you believe can be done to combat the rising opioid epidemic? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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