By Amy Orciari Herman
The drug overdose death rate among women aged 30 to 64 increased dramatically from 1999 to 2017 — from 6.7 to 24.3 per 100,000 population — according to an analysis of national mortality data inMMWR.
Significant increases were seen in overdose deaths from synthetic opioids (increase of 1643%), heroin (915%), benzodiazepines (830%), prescription opioids (485%), cocaine (280%), and antidepressants (176%).
In 2017, overdose death rates were highest among women aged 50 to 54, whereas in 1999, those aged 40 to 44 were most affected. The average age at overdose death increased over the study period for every drug class except synthetic opioids.
The authors write, “Substantial work has focused on informing women of childbearing age about the risk … of the use of certain drugs. … The current analysis demonstrates the remaining need to consider middle-aged women who remain vulnerable to death by drug overdose.”