Study says opioid overdose death rate for older adults is on the rise
Senior author Lori Post, Buehler Professor of Medicine and professor of emergency medicine, said: “Many are Baby Boomers who, in their youth, used stimulants and, unlike previous generations, they continue to use into an older age. and medical social sciences at Feinberg. “That’s the kind of fly in the face of our stereotype of ‘older people.’ We don’t consider them recreational drug users, but it’s a growing problem.”
Within 20 years, 79,893 people in the US aged 55 to 80 died from an opioid overdose, with about half being 55 to 64 years old, Mason said. The study found that the overall annual mortality rate per 100,000 people 55 years of age and older ranged from a low of 0.9 in 1999 to a high of 10.7 in 2019 and increased every year from 2000 on, the study found. research shows.
The Post cites ageism as one of the contributing factors to the rise in fatal opioid overdoses in older adults, explaining that doctors often don’t screen for drug abuse during adult appointments. age because “it doesn’t fit the mold of what it means. get older.”
“They’re invisible,” Post said. “We’re talking about grandparents who take drugs, and have overdosed. We don’t think of them seriously. Not potential victims of domestic abuse, physical or sexual assault or addiction. drugs. That needs to change.”
By 2019, the death rate from opioid overdose in non-Hispanic black men or African-Americans 55 and older was 40.03 per 100,000 population. four times greater than the overall opioid-related death rate for other people of the same age.
“It’s really a big question about what’s going on with that population that’s not happening with other populations,” says Mason. “It hints at the beginning of the third wave of the opioid epidemic, when fentanyl begins to be present in the general drug supply. Older black men are engaged in illicit drug use. more, while other populations are more involved in prescription drug use.”
Mason noted that Black men are also more likely to suffer injuries, lack access to health insurance and health care, distrust health care providers, and be treatment for pain compared with other older populations.
Research suggests other contributing factors to the exponential increase in older adults. These may include social isolation and depression; exposure to medically prescribed opioids for chronic conditions such as arthritis and cancer, increases with age; Impaired cognitive function may interfere with prescribed opioids. In addition, the body’s ability to metabolize opioids decreases with age, which means that people are more susceptible to overdose.
“We need to inform services that cater to older adults, such as meal delivery or housekeeping, about these potential problems and how to recognize signs of substance abuse, like confusion, falling and asking for medication too often or at the wrong cycle,” Dang said.
Mason points out that disproportionate proportions among Black men require addressing the social determinants of health that drive drug abuse in the first place.
Other Northwest authors on the paper include Dr. Howard Kim and Rebekah Soliman.
Funding for the study was provided by the Buehler Smith Center Gerontology Resource Research Fund and the Institute for Policy Studies Summer Research Assistantship Program.