VIRGINIA (WVEC) – With drug overdoses on the rise across the country Virginia is no exception.

According to the Virginia Department of Health, the number of drug overdose deaths are expected to rise in 2017.

The total number of Virginia fatal drug overdoses in 2016 was 1,428. The projected number of deaths for 2017 is 1,459.

Total Number of Drug Overdoses by Quarter and Year of Death, 2007-2017

The Virginia Medical Examiner Database System shows fatal drug overdose has been the leading method of unnatural death in Virginia since 2013 and the leading method of accidental death since 2014.

Rate of All Fatal Drug Overdoses by Locality of Overdose, 2016

The second most common unnatural deaths in Virginia are gun related. In 2017 guns are projected to kill 985 people.

Each year the total number of fatal drug overdoses statewide have been increasing. Fatal overdoses in 2016 compared to 2015 increased by 38.9 percent.

In the first quarter of this year, January 1 to March 31, 377 people have been killed from overdosing. That’s 15 more deaths than 2016’s first quarter.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nationally in 2015 there were over 22,000 deaths involving prescription opioids. The equivalent to about 62 deaths per day.

The CDC also states that in approximately 1 in 5 drug overdose deaths, no specific drug is listed on the death certificate. In many cases, many drugs are present, and it's difficult to identify which drug or drugs caused the death.

For more information about the Virginia Department of Health’s report, click HERE.