The day after my earlier post I found that the CDC had released the 2017 files. Here is the updated version of the plot that shows the histories of death rates in the 12 counties with the highest rates.

The numbers just keep going up. I know this is a highly selective snapshot—by definition I am looking at the worst hit counties—but the full national picture is sobering. From the CDC’s 2017 report:

  • Average rate in 2017 was 10% higher in 2017 than in 2016
  • Amongst the synthetic opioids (e.g. fentanyl and tramadol) the increase was 45%