The problem

In 2019, 156,242 Americans died from drug- or alcohol induced causes or suicide. That equates to 428 deaths per day, 17.8 per hour and one person dying of a preventable cause approximately every three minutes. Projections say it will only get worse.

The Road Ahead

But there are solutions if we choose to act. A full-scale National Resilience Strategy can move us in the right direction.

All deaths since 1999

Snapshots of a Crisis

Life expectancy in the U.S. increased slightly in 2019 but deaths due to drugs, alcohol and suicide continued to increase. What's more, overall life expectancy for 2020 is expected to decrease due to dual pandemics: the COVID-19 virus and alcohol, drug, and suicide deaths. These trends are a wake-up call that there is a serious crisis in this country. They are signals of grave underlying concerns facing too many Americans – about pain, despair, disconnection and lack of opportunity – and the urgent need to address them.

1.6 Million

If trends continue, 1.6 million more people could die from the preventable causes of drugs, alcohol and suicide by 2025.


Over 6,000 veterans die from suicide annually.


Over the past decade, the drug death rate among young adults 18-34 years old has more than doubled.

1 IN 10 

Only about one in 10 people with substance use disorders receive recommended treatment.

A National Resilience Strategy: How to Save Lives

We need a National Resilience Strategy that takes a comprehensive approach – including prevention, early identification of issues and effective treatment. Band-Aid interventions are not enough. The Pain in the Nation report highlights more than 60 research-based policies, practices and programs to reduce substance use, alcohol misuse and suicide – and promote better well-being for all Americans.

Attack the Crises

Expand and scale up evidence-based efforts to deploy a full scale strategy against opioids, excessive alcohol use, and rising suicide rates.

Bolster supports

Prioritize prevention, reduce risk factors and promote resilience in children, families and communities.

Identify early

Enhance programs that identify early warning signs, and connect people to the services they need.

Enhance treatment

Improve pain management and treatment, and modernize mental health and substance abuse services, to focus on individuals' whole health.

Pain in the Nation

Map values for states (through 2019) based on actual values for 1999, 2005, 2015, 2019.

Map projections (2020 through 2025) reflect recent trends in death rates by cause. The report from which these data derive provided several sets of projections, based on assumptions from optimistic (deaths for all causes increase at rates equal to the slowest recent increase by a specific cause) to very pessimistic (deaths for all causes increase at rates equal to the fastest recent increase by specific cause). The map presents data based on baseline assumptions. Note that, nationally, actual deaths in 2016 exceeded deaths projected by the very pessimistic assumptions.

For more information about the report, please contact Rhea Farberman, [email protected].