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June 08 , 2017
Contact: Public Information Officer
(215) 852-8740
DEA Announces 4,642 Drug Related Deaths in Pennsylvania in 2016

JUNE 08 (PHILADELPHIA) –Gary Tuggle, Special Agent-in-Charge of the DEA Philadelphia Field Division announced that 4,642 drug-related overdose deaths were reported by coroners and medical examiners in Pennsylvania for 2016. This number represents a 37 percent increase in overdose deaths from 2015 and establishes a death rate for 36.5 per 100,000 people. 

In 2016, approximately 13 people died of a drug-related overdose each day. The DEA will be releasing its Analysis of Drug-Related Overdose Deaths in Pennsylvania 2016 report later this month. This year’s report was prepared with the assistance of the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Pharmacy, Program Evaluation Research Unit, Technical Assistance Center, and provides extensive public health data analysis and visualizations.  

A summary of key findings from the 2016 report indicate the presence of a prescription or illicit opioid was identified in 85 percent of the overdose deaths.  Fentanyl and fentanyl-related substances were the most frequently identified (52 percent of deaths), exceeding heroin (45 percent of deaths) for the first time.

Younger Pennsylvanian’s were impacted significantly; individuals aged 15-24 had a 380 percent increase in their odds of a fentanyl-related death than other age groups, while individuals aged 25-34 had a 970 percent increase in their odds of dying of a heroin-related overdose when compared to other age groups.

“The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is in the midst of an unprecedented epidemic of drug abuse and drug-related overdose deaths that impacts every corner of the state and all of its residents,” said Tuggle. “The collection, analysis, and dissemination of this data contributes to a robust information sharing environment amongst the fields of law enforcement, public health, treatment, and public policy, all of whom are working together to address the drug crisis in Pennsylvania.”

Members of the media wanting additional information are asked to contact DEA Public Information Officer/Special Agent Patrick J. Trainor at either (215) 852-8740 or


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