FDPS Friday Fact 05/24/2024: Rate of U.S. Children Who Lost a Parent to a Drug Overdose per 100,000 Children, 2011-2021, by Race

A recent study in JAMA Psychiatry titled, “Estimated Number of Children Who Lost a Parent to Drug Overdose in the US From 2011 to 2021” estimated that 321,566 children lost a parent to a drug overdose.  

The study estimated annual rates of children, by race, who lost a parent to a drug overdose from 2011 to 2021. The rate more than doubled among every racial group between 2011 and 2021. Here are the rate increases each race saw over that time period:  

  • More Than One Race: 277.5% 
  • Black: 222.4% 
  • American Indian or Alaska Native: 213.5% 
  • White: 163.0% 
  • Asian or Other Pacific Islander: 159.2% 
  • Hispanic: 137.4% 
  • All Races: 133.7% 

In 2021, the group with the highest rate was non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Native individuals (187.1 per 100,000), followed by non-Hispanic white individuals (76.5 per 100,000), non-Hispanic Black individuals (73.2 per 100,000), and Hispanic individuals (40.6 per 100,000). 

These data illustrate the wide-ranging impacts of the drug crisis: every overdose impacts not only the individual but also their loved ones. This issue is especially tragic when a child loses a parent to overdose. To prevent additional loss and suffering, policymakers must invest in prevention, treatment, and recovery.