Rising Fatal Drug Overdoses Linked to Years of Life Lost

Growth in fatal overdoses linked to increased mortality, years of life lost for non-Hispanic whites
Growth in fatal overdoses linked to increased mortality, years of life lost for non-Hispanic whites

(HealthDay News) — For non-Hispanic whites, rising fatal drug overdose rates are associated with increases in the mortality rate and years of potential life lost from 1999 to 2015, according to a study published online May 22 in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Christopher J. Ruhm, Ph.D., from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, used vital statistics data to examine whether increases in mortality rates and years of potential life lost among midlife non-Hispanic whites from 1999 to 2015 are associated with increases in fatal overdoses.

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Ruhm found that from 1999 to 2015 there was an increase in the mortality rate by 21.2 per 100,000 people and an increase in the years of potential life lost by 712,000 for non-Hispanic whites aged 22 to 56 years; 63 and 76 percent, respectively, of the increases occurred among those aged 22 to 39 years. The drug poisoning-attributed increases were 26.4 per 100,000 people and 854,000 years of potential life lost; 51 and 64 percent, respectively, occurred among those aged 22 to 39 years. Illicit opioids without involvement of prescription opioids were involved in increases of 13.9 per 100,000 people and 489,000 years of potential life lost.

"Growth in fatal overdoses was strongly correlated with increased mortality rate and years of potential life lost for midlife non-Hispanic whites from 1999 to 2015," Ruhm writes.

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