time.com: Watch How the Drug Overdose Epidemic Spread in America [VIDEO]


Newly released data shows the problem growing

The epidemic of drug overdoses in the U.S. has reached crisis levels, according to newly published data from the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps project. The following map shows the spread in per-capita drug overdoses from 2002 to 2014, the most recent year for which data is available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Because it’s difficult to determine the number of overdoses in small-population counties, the figures in this map represent the CDC’s statistical estimates for lethal overdoses in every county. In some cases, this undercounts fatalities, since the model tops out at “over 20 deaths per 100,000 people” when, in fact, a handful of outlying counties have figures much higher than this. But even though the estimates are flawed in some places, there’s enough hard data to show that regional epidemics, like that in the Appalachia region, for instance, began at an epicenter and spread rapidly to neighboring counties and states.

Use the mouse wheel or track pad to zoom in and click a county for details.