Opioid-Related Deaths An 'Enormous' Burden
The statistics are alarming: The percentage of deaths due to opioids increased nearly 300 percent from 2001 to 2016, says new research in JAMA Network Open. The numbers were highest among young adults aged 24 to 35. In 2016, 20 percent of deaths in their age group were attributable to opioids.
The researchers found that one in 65 deaths overall in 2016 were opioid-based, an increase of 292 percent since 2001, which is more than deaths due to hypertension, HIV/AIDS, and pneumonia. An analysis of the early loss of life from opioid overdose found that opioid-related deaths resulted in 1,681,359 years of life lost in the United States in 2016. Researchers also noted that by 2016, almost 68 percent of all opioid-related deaths were in men, with a median age of 40, and that opioid use is rising among older adults, aged 55 to 62.
The study authors used the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) WONDER Multiple Cause of Death Online Database, with mortality and population estimates in the U. S., stratified by age and sex. The population-based, serial cross-sectional study reiterated the tremendous public health burden caused by opioid addiction.