Drug overdose deaths soaring among middle aged women: Rate shot up 500% since 2000, CDC report reveals
- The rate has rocketed 260 percent among women aged 30 to 64 since 1999
- But among women aged 55 to 64 years old specifically, the rate shot up 500 percent, new CDC data show
Drug overdose deaths have soared – particularly among middle-aged women, new CDC data reveal.
The rate has rocketed 260 percent among women aged 30 to 64 since 1999.
But among women aged 55 to 64 years old specifically, the rate shot up 500 percent.
Experts say the findings show prevention programs need to pay more attention to this demographic of women, who are at a point of intense change – both physiological (menopause, increased risk of diseases) and often emotional (kids leaving home, relatives aging, and more).
Men, particularly white men, have been the hardest hit by the addiction and overdose epidemic that has blighted the US in recent years, even driving down the life expectacy.
However, the new analysis of CDC figures, published today in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), show yet again that this is a complex crisis, which keeps evolving and changing.
Overdose deaths are soaring among women aged 30 to 64, particularly those over 55. Rates are up for deaths related to all opioids, according to the CDC report
Despite attempts to curb prescriptions, the years of over-prescribing (without clear ways to dispose of drugs) mean that US households and streets are now teeming with addictive and potentially lethal drugs.
Progress has been made to educate patients and offer alternatives, but this new report shows the rate of overdoses from Valium, Xanax, benzodiazepines, antidepressants, and illicit drugs is on the rise.
In 2017, 18,110 women aged 30 to 64 died of an overdose – more than four times the figure in 1999 (4,314).
Breaking it down by age group, they found that, more or less, older aged women were seeing a sharper rise in overdose deaths.
In the youngest bracket (30 to 34), rates rose 350 percent.
The next group (35 to 39), it went up 200 percent.
For 40- to 49-year-olds, it went up 300 percent.
For 50- to 54-year-olds it was up 350 percent.
And finally, the rate for 55- to 64-year-olds was up 500 percent.
The issue gets murky when researchers try to break it down by drug.
In many cases, it’s possible – or even, likely – that multiple substances were involved.
What we do know is that deaths for women related to any opioid rose 492 percent in the time frame.
Synthetic opioids like fentanyl are fast claiming more and more women’s lives – with deaths up 1,643 percent since 1999.
Heroin deaths for middle-aged women shot up 915 percent, and deaths related to anxiety medications benzodiazepines went up 830 percent.
‘Overdose deaths continue to be unacceptably high, and targeted efforts are needed to reduce the number of deaths in this evolving epidemic among middle-aged women,’ the researchers wrote.