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VSRR Provisional County-Level Drug Overdose Death Counts

Metadata Updated: April 18, 2024

This data visualization presents county-level provisional counts for drug overdose deaths based on a current flow of mortality data in the National Vital Statistics System. County-level provisional counts include deaths occurring within the 50 states and the District of Columbia, as of the date specified and may not include all deaths that occurred during a given time period. Provisional counts are often incomplete and causes of death may be pending investigation resulting in an underestimate relative to final counts (see Technical Notes).

The provisional data presented on the dashboard below include reported 12 month-ending provisional counts of death due to drug overdose by the decedent’s county of residence and the month in which death occurred.

Percentages of deaths with a cause of death pending further investigation and a note on historical completeness (e.g. if the percent completeness was under 90% after 6 months) are included to aid in interpretation of provisional data as these measures are related to the accuracy of provisional counts (see Technical Notes). Counts between 1-9 are suppressed in accordance with NCHS confidentiality standards. Provisional data presented on this page will be updated on a quarterly basis as additional records are received.

Technical Notes

Nature and Sources of Data

Provisional drug overdose death counts are based on death records received and processed by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) as of a specified cutoff date. The cutoff date is generally the first Sunday of each month. National provisional estimates include deaths occurring within the 50 states and the District of Columbia. NCHS receives the death records from the state vital registration offices through the Vital Statistics Cooperative Program (VSCP).

The timeliness of provisional mortality surveillance data in the National Vital Statistics System (NVSS) database varies by cause of death and jurisdiction in which the death occurred. The lag time (i.e., the time between when the death occurred and when the data are available for analysis) is longer for drug overdose deaths compared with other causes of death due to the time often needed to investigate these deaths (1). Thus, provisional estimates of drug overdose deaths are reported 6 months after the date of death.

Provisional death counts presented in this data visualization are for “12 month-ending periods,” defined as the number of deaths occurring in the 12 month period ending in the month indicated. For example, the 12 month-ending period in June 2020 would include deaths occurring from July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020. The 12 month-ending period counts include all seasons of the year and are insensitive to reporting variations by seasonality. These provisional counts of drug overdose deaths and related data quality metrics are provided for public health surveillance and monitoring of emerging trends. Provisional drug overdose death data are often incomplete, and the degree of completeness varies by jurisdiction and 12 month-ending period. Consequently, the numbers of drug overdose deaths are underestimated based on provisional data relative to final data and are subject to random variation.

Cause of Death Classification and Definition of Drug Deaths

Mortality statistics are compiled in accordance with the World Health Organizations (WHO) regulations specifying that WHO member nations classify and code causes of death with the current revision of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD). ICD provides the basic guidance used in virtually all countries to code and classify causes of death. It provides not only disease, injury, and poisoning categories but also the rules used to select the single underlying cause of death for tabulation from the several diagnoses that may be reported on a single death certificate, as well as definitions, tabulation lists, the format of the death certificate, and regul

Access & Use Information

Public: This dataset is intended for public access and use. License: See this page for license information.

Downloads & Resources


Metadata Created Date April 21, 2022
Metadata Updated Date April 18, 2024

Metadata Source

Harvested from

Additional Metadata

Resource Type Dataset
Metadata Created Date April 21, 2022
Metadata Updated Date April 18, 2024
Publisher Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Data First Published 2021-10-05
Data Last Modified 2024-04-17
Category NCHS
Public Access Level public
Bureau Code 009:20
Metadata Context
Metadata Catalog ID
Schema Version
Catalog Describedby
Harvest Object Id 4bfd8344-6ce2-4c03-b309-9771ab5a6b0f
Harvest Source Id 651e43b2-321c-4e4c-b86a-835cfc342cb0
Harvest Source Title
Homepage URL
Old Spatial United States
Program Code 009:020
Source Datajson Identifier True
Source Hash b7aaccdfce5fb005ff4db6d0f4133e7d15681331126414054fd268d4d26bf6cd
Source Schema Version 1.1
Spatial {"type":"Polygon","coordinates":-124.733253,24.544245,-124.733253,49.388611,-66.954811,49.388611,-66.954811,24.544245,-124.733253,24.544245}
Temporal 2015-01-01/2023-09-23

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