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Record High countries with Drug Overdose Deaths in 2022



The United States had the highest number of drug overdose deaths in 2022. Canada, Russia, and Mexico also had high numbers. 

The rest of this article will explore which countries had the most deaths from drug overdoses in 2022 and why they were so high.


Table of Contents

1. The United States

The United States has the highest number of drug overdose deaths in 2022. The US population is 325 million people, making it the third largest country in terms of population. 

The number of drug overdose deaths in the United States is at an all-time high. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that nearly 70,000 people died from a drug overdose in 2019, with more than half of those deaths involving opioids. 

That’s more than 400 people per day who died because of a drug overdose — or one person every seven minutes. Here’s how the numbers have increased since 2010:

In the past year, there were about 50 million Americans over the age of 12 who took prescription painkillers for nonmedical use, which led to more than 1 million emergency room visits and 26,000 deaths related to their misuse or abuse.


2. Canada

If you’re wondering about the countries with the highest drug overdose death rate in the world, Canada is not one of them. 

But if you look at the numbers from 2016 and compare them to those from 2012, it becomes clear that Canada has been experiencing a serious increase in overdoses over time.

The number of drug overdose deaths in Canada has increased by more than 50% since 2012, making it among the worst-affected countries when it comes to this issue. 

The main cause of death is opioids like fentanyl and carfentanil — drugs that are much stronger than heroin and can cause respiratory failure quickly

 — which have led to thousands of deaths across North America alone. 

In Alberta alone, there were 995 deaths due to opioids in 2017 (up from 519 three years earlier), making up more than 80% of all fatalities caused by substances like alcohol or cocaine combined!


3. Brazil

Brazil is the largest producer of cocaine in the world, with an estimated share of 40 – 60% of global production. 

It also has one of the highest rates of drug-related deaths in the region, with over 200,000 people dying from overdoses since 2010.

Brazil’s overdose deaths increased by 20% in 2022 alone and are expected to continue increasing throughout 2024. 

Violent crime remains a major problem: Brazil has one of the highest murder rates in South America as well as drug trafficking routes passing through its territory. 

So, if care is not taken, these numbers may increase as predicted above.


4. Russia

Russia recorded a total of 11,578 drug overdose deaths in 2021. With a population of 146 million people, this means that Russia had the highest number of drug overdose deaths per capita at 46.8 per 100,000 people. 

The country’s death rate was nearly double that of the United States (23 per 100,000) and more than ten times higher than India (4 per 100,000).


5. Mexico

You might be surprised to learn that Mexico has the highest drug overdose death rate of any country in the world. 

The country’s overdose deaths increased from 18 per 100,000 people in 2017 to 23 per 100,000 people in 2018 and reached 26 per 100,000 people in 2022.

In terms of absolute numbers, Mexico had an estimated 15,300 drug-related deaths out of a total population of 473 million people last year—that works out to 0.3% of its population dying from an overdose.


6. Peru

Peru is a major producer of coca leaves and a large producer of cocaine. It’s in the top 10 countries with the highest cocaine production. 

Peru also has a large heroin and opium market, as well as one for methamphetamine. This means that there are high rates of drug addiction throughout the country.


7. Switzerland

Switzerland has the highest drug overdose death rate per capita in the world. The country’s drug overdose death rate is about six times higher than the United States, which has a population of 325 million people. 

Swiss citizens have easy access to European drug markets, including heroin and cocaine.

Switzerland also has a large number of people who are addicted to opioids, which can lead to health problems like chronic pain or infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS or hepatitis C (HCV).


8. Denmark

Denmark had the highest drug overdose rate in 2022, according to a United Nations report. 

The country’s death rate from drug overdoses was 1.3 per 100,000 people, which is higher than any other country on record. 

Denmark’s previous record was set in 2020 at 1.2 deaths per 100,000 people; this means that its rate has risen by more than 10% in just two years!

The United States reported an average of 1 death per 100,000 people each year between 2013 and 2020

—but it is not yet clear whether or not this will change when the 2021-2022 numbers are released later this year.


9. Germany

In 2022, Germany recorded its highest number of drug overdose deaths ever. The country had 3,849 people die from overdoses in 2022—26% more than in 2021. 

In fact, Germany has the highest rate of drug overdose deaths per capita in Europe and ranks third after the U.S. and China globally with 22 deaths per 100,000 people.

The data reveals that fentanyl was involved in 575 cases (24%), heroin was involved in 471 cases (21%) and cocaine was involved in 321 cases (15%). 

But what’s even more alarming is that opioids were involved in 2,085 cases (91%). 

This is up by almost 50% compared to 2021 when opioid-related deaths were at 1,515 cases (72%).


These 9 countries had the highest drug overdose deaths in 2022

While drug overdoses are a problem in many countries, the United States has the highest number of drug overdose deaths in the world. 

As you can imagine, this means that there is an epidemic happening here in America.

You may be wondering what kind of drugs we’re talking about when we say “drug overdoses.” 

Well, these are deaths related to opioids (prescription painkillers) and other types of drugs like heroin or cocaine. 

The most common opioid involved in these overdoses is fentanyl—a highly addictive synthetic opioid that’s 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine!

The United States is also one of the largest consumers of opioids on a global scale; some estimates put us as consuming 80% – 90%+! 

So yes: if you use opioids recreationally or recreationally prescribed by your doctor without being aware that they could cause addiction, then yes: you can become addicted to opioids even though it might seem like only certain people would get addicted based on what kind of person they were before using them (e.g., young adults who try them while partying).



Hopefully, this article has helped you understand the current situation with drug overdoses in the world. 

It’s a complex issue that has many layers, but with the right knowledge and resources, we can make progress toward reducing deaths in our various countries.


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