A Rising Overdose Death Rate for Middle-Aged Women

Millions of American’s use drugs everyday where the likelihood of death is 1 in 96. This means it is more likely that someone will die from an overdose verses a car crash.

What is more astounding is that gender and age appear to play a role in drug overdose. In fact, based on a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there has been a rapid increase in overdoses for middle-aged women in the past 20 years. Between 1999 and 2017, the death rate for women aged 30-60 has increased to more than 260 percent. In 1999, there were 6.7 deaths per 100,000 women. In 2017, there were 24.3 per 100,000. This means that 18,110 women died in 2017 due to a fatal overdose. A larger increase of overdose deaths was found in women between the ages of 55 and 64. These numbers increased by 500 percent between 1999 and 2017. The familiar drugs among overdoses are fentanyl, heroin and prescription opioids.

The CDC has commented that they do not know why there has been such a drastic increase of overdose deaths in middle-aged women. Speculation from health experts predict that the culprit could be weak mental health while others believe that lack of awareness about drug overdoses could be at fault. A more taboo belief is that women are using these drugs to overdose as a way of committing suicide. There have been no clear lines drawn around any of these theories.

What is clear is that America is battling an ever-growing epidemic of opioid drug use. There was a ten percent increase in fatal drug overdoses reported by the government in 2018, which means a loss of 70,000 lives. Fentanyl holding first in the leader-board of these fatal drug overdoses.  Another clear conclusion is that most first time users are being prescribed opioids by a doctor who should be spreading awareness about these dangerous drugs verses writing a prescription.