RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – Fatal drug overdoses are the leading method of unnatural death in Virginia and have been since 2013, according to a report by the Virginia Department of Health.

In April 2022, VDH released its fourth Fatal Drug Overdose Quarterly Report of 2021. The report listed opioids, specifically illicit fentanyl, as the driving force behind the large increase of fatal overdoses since 2013.

Fentanyl, whether prescribed or illegally obtained, was found to have caused or contributed to death in 76.5% of all fatal overdoses in 2021.

The report also stated that fatal non-opioid illicit drug overdoses are on the rise. In 2021, fatal cocaine overdoses increased by 23.2% and fatal methamphetamine overdoses increased by 41.5%. 

Overall, fatal overdoses in Virginia for any substance increased 15% in 2021 compared to 2020.

For more information on the report, it can be viewed here.