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It’s not clear why women are becoming disproportionately affected. (iStock)
The drug overdose death rate among women in the U.S. has greatly increased, according to data released this week in the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s morbidity and mortality report.
Specifically, the data revealed the drug overdose death rate has hit middle-aged women particularly hard. In fact, from 1999 to 2017, the CDC found the drug overdose death rate among women ages 30 to 64 group increased by a whopping 260 percent. In other words, the rate increased “from 6.7 deaths per 100,000 population (4,314 total drug overdose deaths) in 1999 to 24.3 (18,110) in 2017,” the health agency said in the report.
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During the same time period, the CDC also noted that the number and rate of deaths associated with antidepressants, benzodiazepines, cocaine, heroin and synthetic opioids (excluding methadone) also increased.
Prescription opioid-related deaths also increased for women aged 30 to 64 between 1999 and 2017, the CDC said, adding the largest increase was among women aged 55 to 64.
Overall, from 1999 to 2017, drug overdose death rates increased by roughly 200 percent among women 35 to 39 and women 45 to 49, while women aged 30 to 34 and 50 to 54 saw an increase of 350 percent. Most shockingly, however, the rate increased by almost 500 percent among women aged 55 to 64 during that timeframe, the CDC found.
Comparatively, in 1999, “overdose death rates were highest among women aged 40–44 years (9.6 deaths per 100,000 population), whereas during 2017, rates were highest among women aged 50–54 years (28.2),” the CDC explained.
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The CDC did not detail exactly what’s causing women to become disproportionately affected but did note “overdose deaths continue to be unacceptably high, and targeted efforts are needed to reduce the number of deaths in this evolving epidemic.”
You can read the CDC’s full report here.
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