Drug Overdose Statistics Indiana

Drug overdose statistics reveal increasing overdose deaths in Indiana. Indiana ranks 39th in the nation in drug overdose deaths according to the 2023 America’s Health Rankings.

This fact sheet compiles key statistics about Indiana’s ongoing struggle with drug overdoses. 

Fatal Overdose Rate in Indiana by Demographic

What Are The Drug Overdose Statistics For Indiana?

Drug overdose statistics for Indiana reveal a significant increase, with opioid-related deaths rising by 600% between 2012 and 2016, and a total of 2,206 opioid overdose deaths in 2021, comprising 78% of all drug overdose fatalities in the state. There are 21 overdose death statistics for the state of Indiana listed below.

  1. In 2022, Indiana had 2,682 drug overdose deaths with a mortality rate of 41 per 100,000 population.
  2. Indiana’s drug overdose rates are higher than the national average, with a rate of 32.4 per 100,000.
  3. Fentanyl is the most common drug involved in overdose deaths in Indiana, accounting for 66.6% of cases.
  4. Men in Indiana had a significantly higher rate of fatal drug overdose deaths in 2022, with a rate of 50.83 per 100,000 compared to 24.20 per 100,000 for women.
  5. Veterans in Indiana comprised 6.94% of all drug overdose deaths in 2022, with a 39% decrease in overdoses from 2021.
  6. Opioids contributed to 78% of all drug overdose fatalities in Indiana in 2021, higher than the national rate of 75%.
  7. From 2011 to 2021, Indiana’s age-adjusted death rate from opioid overdoses increased from 5.6 per 100,000 to 34.2 per 100,000.
  8. In 2017, Marion County’s drug overdose death rate was 37.4 per 100,000, surpassing the Indiana rate of 25.7 per 100,000 and the national rate of 22.4 per 100,000.
  9. In Marion County fentanyl was detected in 46% of all fatal overdoses in 2017.
  10. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2682 individuals in Indiana died of a drug overdose in 2022. Indiana’s drug overdose mortality rate in 2022 was 41 per 100,000 population. 
  11. Indiana Department of Health’s Overdose and Suicide Fatality Report (2022) shows that Indiana’s drug overdose rates are higher than the national average (32.4 per 100,000).
  12. In Indiana, fentanyl accounts for 66.6% of overdose deaths, with psychostimulants like methamphetamine closely trailing at 30.7%.
  13. In 2019, 64% of drug overdose fatalities in Indiana involved the presence of multiple drug classes (polysubstance abuse). Additionally, 43% of all deaths involving fentanyl were found to have another drug in combination, predominantly heroin
  14. In 2019, 75% of individuals who died from a drug overdose in Indiana had a documented history of present or prior substance use or misuse.
  15. In 2019, 71% of drug overdose fatalities in Indiana occurred in the deceased’s home. 
  16. In Indiana, individuals between the ages of 35 and 54 are the most vulnerable to fatal drug overdoses. The rate of fatal overdoses for this age category was 70.95 per 100,000 in 2022
  17. The rate of fatal overdoses for Black individuals was 64.61 per 100,000, almost twice that of White individuals (35.52 per 100,000) in 2022
  18. In 2022, veterans made up 6.94% of all drug overdose deaths in Indiana. Between 2021 and 2022, the number of veterans who overdosed decreased by 39%.
  19. According to the Vera Institute of Justice, between 2000 and 2018, Indiana’s drug overdose death rate increased from 4 per 100,000 population to 26 per 100,000 population, an increase of 631%. 
  20. According to the Indiana Department of Health, Indiana’s drug overdose death rate saw a decrease of 5.4% from 2021 to 2022. 
  21. According to Indiana University data, prisoners face a 129 times higher likelihood of experiencing a fatal drug overdose in the weeks following their release compared to non-incarcerated individuals. 

Overdose deaths happen in Indiana due to a combination of factors including the prevalence of synthetic opioids like fentanyl, high rates of prescription opioid misuse, mental health issues, and limited access to treatment and prevention services.

How Many Overdose Deaths Happen In Indiana?

Below are 10 statistics about drug overdose deaths in Indiana.

  1. Indiana University reveals a 600% increase in deaths linked to synthetic opioids between 2012 and 2016 in Indiana.
  2. Indiana State Department of Health reports a 119% rise in emergency department admissions due to opioid overdoses, increasing from 1,460 admissions in 2009 to 3,199 admissions in 2016.
  3. Drug overdose fatalities in Indiana rose from 781 deaths in 2007 to 1,526 deaths in 2016, a 95% increase, with opioids contributing to 54.5% of these fatalities.
  4. In 2021, Indiana experienced 2,206 opioid overdose deaths, comprising 78% of all drug overdose fatalities in the state. Nationwide, 80,816 opioid overdose deaths accounted for 75% of all drug overdose deaths.
  5. Age-adjusted opioid overdose death rate in Indiana increased from 5.6 per 100,000 in 2011 to 34.2 per 100,000 in 2021, mirroring the national increase from 7.3 per 100,000 to 24.7 per 100,000 during the same period.
  6. Non-lethal opioid overdoses in 2016 resulted in over $224 million in hospitalization costs in Indiana.
  7. In 2017, the opioid epidemic caused about $4.3 billion in economic losses for Indiana, with $1 billion (24%) attributed to direct damages (foster care, incarceration, acute hospitalization) and $3 billion (76%) to lost productivity.
  8. From 2002 to 2017, opioid overdoses cost Indiana a collective $43 billion in economic damages, with Marion County experiencing the largest impact at nearly $7.4 billion, amounting to $7,759 per Marion County resident.
  9. Between 2007 and 2016, the number of opioid overdose deaths increased by 222% among Indiana men and 244% among women.
  10. From 2007 to 2016, White individuals accounted for over 90% of all opioid overdose deaths in Indiana.

What Opioid Overdose Deaths by Type of Drug in Indiana?

The Indiana opioid overdose deaths by type of drug are listed below.

Heroin

  • Among females in Indiana, heroin was involved in 73 cases of opioid overdose deaths in 2016, accounting for 24.6% of cases with a rate of 2.3 per 100,000 population.
Heroin Overdose Deaths in Indiana in 2026

Synthetic Narcotics 

  • Among females in Indiana, synthetic narcotics were involved in 100 cases of opioid overdose deaths (32.9%) in 2016, with a rate of 3.2 per 100,000 population. 
Synthetic Narcotics Overdose Death in Indiana

Drug Overdose Deaths in Marion County, Indiana

According to a 2018 report by the IU Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health, Marion County has the highest rate of drug overdose fatalities compared to any other region in Indiana or the United States. Here are some statistics about drug overdose deaths in Marion County: 

  1. The drug overdose death rate in Marion County in 2017 stood at 37.4 per 100,000 individuals, exceeding both the statewide rate in Indiana (25.7 per 100,000) and the national rate (22.4 per 100,000).
  2. From 2011 to 2017, a total of 8,623 Indiana residents lost their lives to drug overdoses. Of these fatalities, one in every five was a resident of Marion County. 
  3. According to IU Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health, Marion County’s drug overdose mortality rate stands as one of the state’s highest, ranking 14th out of 92 counties and surpassing the state average by 50%.
  4. Between 2011 and 2017, the drug overdose death rate among Indiana residents increased by 75%. Marion County saw a 123% surge, rising from 153 deaths to 355 in that time span.
  5. According to the Marion County Public Health Department in Indiana, hospitals in Indianapolis are tending to about 20 patients for drug overdoses every day, with an average of two to three drug overdose-related deaths occurring daily. 

Opioid Overdose Rates in Marion County 

  • Opioids were identified as the primary cause of fatal drug overdoses in Marion County, contributing to 81% of all fatal overdoses. 
  • Between 2010 and 2017, there was nearly a 20% increase in the number of overdose deaths in Marion County that were wholly or partially attributed to opioids.
  • Since 2011, the use of prescription opioids in overdose deaths has decreased, yet there has been a significant rise in deaths involving synthetic fentanyl. In 2017, fentanyl was detected in 46% of Marion County’s overdose deaths, marking a substantial rise from 6% in 2013. 
  • In Marion County, the involvement of prescription opioids in overdose deaths significantly dropped from 52% in 2011 to 22% in 2017. Similarly, heroin-related overdose deaths peaked at 43% in 2015 before falling to 31% in 2017.

Opioid Overdose Hospitalization & Emergency Visit Rates in Marion County

The following tables compare the hospitalization and emergency department visit rates due to opioid overdose in Indiana and Marion County in 2016.

Type of opioidHospitalization rate per 100,000
IndianaMarion County
Any opioid36.646.6
Heroin9.816.3
Type of opioidEmergency department visit rate per 100,000
IndianaMarion County
Any opioid104.5192.6
Heroin70.7139.7

Source: rmff.org

Fatal Drug Overdoses in Marion County by Demographic 

Gender 

  • According to the Marion County Coroner’s Office, in 2017, males accounted for 67% of fatal overdoses in Marion County, although they represented only 48% of the population.
Fatal Drug Overdoses in Marion Country in 2017

Age

  • According to the Marion County Coroner’s Office, individuals aged 25-34 were significantly overrepresented in fatal overdoses in Marion County in 2017, accounting for 31% of deaths but only 17% representation of the population. 
  • Those aged 35-44 had 27% of fatal overdoses compared to a 13% representation of the population.
  • The age group 45-54 represented 22% of fatal overdoses, though they constituted only 13% of the population.
  • People aged 55-64 had a matching representation in fatal overdoses (12%) to their population share (12%).
  • Those aged 18-24 were involved in 6% of fatal overdoses, whereas they comprised 14% of the population.
  • Overdose deaths were least common among those aged 17 and younger (1%) and those over 65 (2%), despite these groups representing 21% and 11% of the population, respectively. 

Ethnicity

  • White individuals were overrepresented in fatal overdoses in Marion County in 2017, accounting for 72% of deaths, while they constituted 65% of the population. 
Fatal Drug Overdoses in Marion County in 2017

Education Level

  • According to the Marion County Coroner’s Office, people with less than a high school education were highly overrepresented in fatal overdoses in 2017, comprising 46% of deaths, while they represented only 15% of the population.
  • Those with a high school diploma or GED made up 13% of fatal overdoses in the same year, whereas they constituted 28% of the population. 
  • Individuals with more than a high school education accounted for 9% of fatal overdoses, though they made up 57% of the population.
  • Education status was unknown for 32% of fatal overdose cases in Marion County in 2017.

Employment Status

  • In Marion County, unemployed individuals were significantly overrepresented in fatal overdoses in 2017, making up 41% of deaths, despite representing only 6% of the population.
  • In the same year, employed individuals accounted for 32% of fatal overdoses, although they constituted 62% of the population.

Which Drug Is Most Common in Drug Overdose Deaths in Indiana?

Fentanyl is the most common drug in overdose deaths in Indiana.

How Can Treatment and Prevention Strategies Reduce Drug Overdose Fatalities in Indiana?

Treatment and prevention strategies can significantly reduce drug overdose fatalities in Indiana through a multi-faceted approach. Increasing access to substance use disorder treatment programs in Indiana, including medication-assisted treatment (MAT), can help individuals manage their addiction and reduce the risk of overdose. Expanding harm reduction services, such as needle exchange programs and widespread distribution of naloxone, can prevent fatal overdoses and reduce the spread of infectious diseases. Public awareness campaigns and education programs can inform the community about the risks of drug use and the availability of treatment options. Improving mental health services and providing support for individuals with co-occurring disorders can address underlying issues that contribute to substance abuse. Lastly, strengthening law enforcement efforts to reduce the availability of illicit drugs and implementing policies that promote recovery and reintegration into society can create a supportive environment for individuals seeking to overcome addiction. By combining these strategies, Indiana can work towards reducing the number of drug overdose fatalities in the state.

How Can Harm Reduction Services Lower the Amount of Overdoses?

Harm reduction services are critical in lowering the amount of overdoses through the implementation of easily accessible naloxone, supervised consumption sites, syringe exchange programs, fentanyl testing strips, education, access to treatment, and supportive community environments.

  1. Naloxone Distribution: Naloxone is a life-saving medication that can rapidly reverse opioid overdoses. By making naloxone widely available to at-risk individuals, their families, and first responders, harm reduction services can significantly reduce the number of fatal overdoses.
  2. Supervised Consumption Sites: These facilities provide a safe and hygienic environment for individuals to use drugs under the supervision of trained staff. These sites can immediately respond to overdoses, preventing deaths and connecting users to health and social services.
  3. Syringe Exchange Programs: By providing clean syringes and safe disposal options, these programs reduce the spread of infectious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis C. They also offer a point of contact for health services, including overdose prevention education and substance use disorder treatment referrals.
  4. Fentanyl Testing Strips: These strips allow users to test their drugs for the presence of fentanyl, a potent synthetic opioid responsible for many overdose deaths. Knowing whether their drugs contain fentanyl can help users make safer choices, reducing the likelihood of overdose.
  5. Education and Awareness: Harm reduction services often include educational programs that inform users about the risks of drug use, safer use practices, and the signs of an overdose. Education can empower users to take precautions that lower their overdose risk.
  6. Access to Treatment: Harm reduction services can serve as a gateway to treatment for substance use disorders. By building trust and providing non-judgmental support, these programs can encourage users to seek help and transition to recovery programs, thereby reducing the likelihood of future overdoses.
  7. Supportive Community: Creating a supportive community environment through harm reduction services helps reduce the stigma associated with drug use. This can encourage more individuals to seek help and access the resources they need to reduce their risk of overdose.

By integrating these strategies, harm reduction services play a vital role in lowering the number of drug overdoses, saving lives, and improving public health outcomes.

Data Sources: 

  1. “Indiana Drug Overdose Dashboard.” Indiana State Department of Health,
  2. Mental Health and Substance Use State Fact Sheets: Indiana | KFF. https://www.in.gov/health/overdose-prevention/overdose-surveillance/indiana/
  3. Drug Overdose Epidemic in Indiana: Behind the Numbers https://www.in.gov/health/overdose-prevention/files/Behind_the_Numbers_Report2020_Final.pdf
  4. Indiana Overdose Data Reports and Briefs https://www.in.gov/health/overdose-prevention/overdose-surveillance/special-emphasis-reports/
  5. The Crisis in Indiana: Understanding the Crisis: Addictions https://addictions.iu.edu/understanding-crisis/crisis-in-indiana.html
  6. Drug Overdose Mortality by State https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/pressroom/sosmap/drug_poisoning_mortality/drug_poisoning.htm
  7. Indiana overdose deaths reach record high for second consecutive year. npr Public Radio IN. MAY 31, 2022 https://www.wfyi.org/news/articles/indiana-overdose-deaths-reach-record-high-for-second-consecutive-year
  8. The Opioid Epidemic in Indiana and Marion County – Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation
  9. The Opioid Epidemic in Indiana https://www.ihaconnect.org/Resources/Public/Patient%20Safety/Patient%20Safety%20Awareness%20Week/opioid%20brochure-v2.pdf
  10. Drug overdose deaths continue to climb nationally and locally – The Daily Reporter – Greenfield Indiana https://www.greenfieldreporter.com/2023/03/28/drug-overdose-deaths-continue-to-climb-nationally-and-locally/
  11. Overdose Data to Action https://marionhealth.org/od2a/
  12. Explore Drug Deaths in Indiana | AHR https://www.americashealthrankings.org/explore/measures/drug_deaths_1yr/IN
  13. Opioid Overdose in Indiana https://www.treatmentindiana.com/opioid-overdose-in-indiana/
  14. https://scholarworks.indianapolis.iu.edu/server/api/core/bitstreams/3aa9fe1f-64cc-4566-b66e-e884ec88c0cc/content
  15. Southern District of Indiana | U.S. Attorney’s Office and Department of Justice Announce Results of Efforts to Reduce Fentanyl Supply and Prosecute Fentanyl Traffickers https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdin/pr/us-attorney-s-office-and-department-justice-announce-results-efforts-reduce-fentanyl
  16. Fewer U.S., Indiana overdose deaths reported last year, but experts cautious – Daily Journal https://dailyjournal.net/2024/05/16/fewer-u-s-indiana-overdose-deaths-reported-last-year-but-experts-cautious/
  17. Indiana – Overdose Deaths and Jail Incarceration https://www.vera.org/publications/overdose-deaths-and-jail-incarceration/in
  18. The Changing Landscape of the Opioid Epidemic in Marion County and Evidence for Action https://www.rmff.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Richard-M.-Fairbanks-Opioid-Report-October-2018-1.pdf
  19. Occupations Linked to Drug and Alcohol Abuse
The Grove Editorial Team is a dynamic group of professionals at The Grove, a leading addiction treatment center in Indianapolis, Indiana. Comprising experienced therapists, medical experts, and dedicated support staff, this team brings a wealth of knowledge and compassionate insight into the complexities of addiction and recovery. Their collective expertise shines through in each article, offering readers valuable guidance, the latest in addiction science, and inspiring stories of healing and transformation. The Grove Editorial Team is committed to educating, supporting, and empowering individuals and families on their journey toward a healthier, substance-free life.

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