U.S. has highest rate of drug overdoses

The United States had more than double the rate of premature overdose deaths of at least 12 comparable countries in a recent study.  The study compared the trends and patterns in premature mortality rates among people age 20 – 64 years due to drug overdose. The data was compiled from the 13 members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. The U.S. has the highest death rate due to drug overdoses for both men and women (35 deaths in 100,000 men and 20 deaths in 100,000 women) in 2015. Mexico had the lowest rates: 1 death per 100,000 men and 0.2 deaths per 100,000 women. The researchers also found that the United States had the second-highest increase in drug overdose deaths: 4.3% per year in men and 5.3% per year in women. Only Estonia had a higher increase. The study describes US opioid deaths as “triple epidemic waves,” starting with prescription opioid deaths in the late 1990s, heroin deaths beginning in 2010 and finally deaths due to synthetic opioids, which include fentanyl. Other countries have found solutions to high rates of opioid-related deaths. There were an estimated 63,632 drug overdose deaths in 2016 in the US.

See the article in the Annals of Internal Medicine here.

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