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Overdose death rate increasing the most in middle-aged women, CDC finds

It is not clear why women are still disproportionately affected.
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The drug overdose deaths 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 that the overdose death rate in middle aged women particularly hard. In fact, from 1999 to 2017, the CDC found the drug overdose deaths among women in the age from 30 to 64 group increased by a whopping 260 percent. In other words, the rate increased “from 6.7 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants (4,314 total 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 period, the CDC also noted that the number and frequency of deaths associated with antidepressants, benzodiazepines, cocaine, heroin, and synthetic opioids (except methadone) is also increased.

Prescription opioid-related deaths also increased for women in the age group of 30 to 64, 1999 to 2017, the CDC said, adding that the biggest increase was among women in the age group of 55 to 64 years.

Overall, from 1999 to 2017, drug overdose death rates increased by approximately 200 percent in women from 35 to 39 and the women of 45 to 49, while the women in the age group of 30 to 34 and 50 to 54 saw an increase of 350 percent. The most shocking, but the rate is increased by almost 500% among women in the age group of 55 to 64 year-olds during that period, the CDC found.

For comparison, in 1999, “overdose death rate was highest among women in the age group of 40-44 years (9.6 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants), while in 2017, rates were highest among women aged 50-54 years (28.2),” the CDC explained.

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The CDC does not detail exactly what the cause of that women are disproportionately affected, but did note “an overdose remain unacceptably high and targeted efforts are needed to make the number of deaths in this evolving epidemic.”

You can read the CDC’s full report here.

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