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Health Indicator Report of Drug Overdose Deaths

New Mexico's drug overdose death rate has been one of the highest in the nation for most of the last two decades. New Mexico's death rate has more than tripled since 1990. While deaths due to illicit drugs have remained steady during the past decade, deaths due to prescription drugs (particularly opioid pain relievers) have increased dramatically. In addition to the high death rates, drug abuse is one of the most costly health problems in the U. S. In 2007, it was estimated that prescription opioid abuse, dependence, and misuse cost New Mexico $890 million. ^1^ [[br]][[br]] ---- {{class .SmallerFont # Based on a national methodology derived by Birnbaum et al. (2011). "Societal costs of opioid abuse, dependence, and misuse in the United States." Pain Medicine, 12(4):657-667. }}


Age-adjusted to the US 2000 standard population.

Data Sources

  • New Mexico Death Data: Bureau of Vital Records and Health Statistics (BVRHS), New Mexico Department of Health.
  • Population Data Source: Geospatial and Population Studies Program, University of New Mexico.


Drug overdose death is defined as the number of deaths caused by drug overdose per 100,000 population. Drug overdose deaths are those in which drug overdose is the primary cause, whether unintentional or intentional. Includes ICD-10 codes X40-X44, X60-X64, X85, and Y10-Y14 for underlying cause of death.


Number of drug overdose deaths in New Mexico


New Mexico Population

Other Objectives

Substance Abuse Epidemiology Report Indicator New Mexico Community Health Status Indicator (CHSI)

How Are We Doing?

Drug use can result in overdose death and is also associated with other societal problems including crime, violence, homelessness, loss of productivity and spread of blood-borne disease such as HIV and hepatitis. Unintentional drug overdose is the largest subset of total drug overdose death, accounting for 80-85% of drug overdose deaths in New Mexico. The other substantial cause of drug overdose death is suicide, or intentional self-poisoning, which accounts for 10-15% of all total drug overdose death in New Mexico. Poisoning has been the leading cause of unintentional injury in New Mexico since 2007, surpassing motor vehicle crash deaths, largely as a result of increased unintentional drug overdose deaths associated with prescription drug use. During 2010-2014, 53% of drug overdose deaths were caused by prescription drugs, while 33% were caused by illicit drugs, and 14% involved both types. Medical examiner data indicate that the most common drugs causing unintentional overdose death for the period were prescription opioids (e.g., methadone, oxycodone, morphine 48%), heroin (34%), tranquilizers/muscle relaxants (23%), cocaine (17%), methamphetamine (16%) and antidepressants (12%) (not mutually exclusive). In New Mexico and nationally, overdose death from prescription opioids has become an issue of enormous concern. Interventions are currently being formulated, assessed and implemented in New Mexico and in communities across the country, and may be contributing to decreases in death in the most recent data available. Hispanic men had the highest total drug overdose death rate during 2010-2014. The rates of total drug overdose death and unintentional drug overdose death among men were roughly 1.5 times that of women. Among women, drug overdose death from prescription drugs was more common than from illicit drugs across the age range. Illicit drugs were the predominant drug type causing death among males across the age range, and the rates were highest among males aged 25-54 years.
Page Content Updated On 11/05/2018, Published on 01/09/2019
The information provided above is from the New Mexico Department of Health's NM-IBIS web site ( The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: "Retrieved Sat, 29 January 2022 from New Mexico Department of Health, Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health Web site:".

Content updated: Thu, 5 Jun 2014 18:11:36 MDT