Breaking News
March 23, 2019 - CRISPR/Cas libraries could revolutionize drug discovery
March 23, 2019 - Allergic reaction during pregnancy may alter sexual-development in offspring’s brain
March 23, 2019 - Seeing through a robot’s eyes helps those with profound motor impairments
March 23, 2019 - Recent research shows that ease of breastfeeding after C-section differs culturally
March 23, 2019 - Newly discovered parameters offer more control over efficient release of drugs
March 23, 2019 - ‘De-tabooing’ of abortion- Women would like more support from health care community
March 23, 2019 - Anti-TB drugs can increase susceptibility to Mtb reinfection
March 23, 2019 - New survey indicates need of attention to neglected tropical diseases
March 23, 2019 - Innovative in vitro method to develop easy-to-swallow medicine for children and older people
March 23, 2019 - Sugary drinks could raise risk of early deaths finds study
March 23, 2019 - Lian wins ENGINE grant for stem-cell-based therapy to treat Type 1 diabetes
March 23, 2019 - Overall, Physicians Are Happy and Enjoy Their Lives
March 23, 2019 - Researchers discover how blood vessels protect the brain during inflammation
March 23, 2019 - CDC study shows modest improvement in optimal hospital breastfeeding policy
March 23, 2019 - Family-based prevention program to reduce alcohol use among older teens
March 23, 2019 - Remote monitoring of implanted defibrillators in heart failure patients prevents hospitalizations
March 23, 2019 - Appropriate doffing of personal protective equipment may reduce healthcare worker contamination
March 23, 2019 - Window screens can suppress mosquito populations, reduce malaria in Tanzania
March 23, 2019 - Researchers discover new biomarker for postoperative liver dysfunction
March 23, 2019 - Pregnancy history may be linked to cognitive function in older women, finds study
March 23, 2019 - Study shows ticagrelor is equally safe and effective as clopidogrel after heart attack
March 23, 2019 - FDA Approves First Drug for Postpartum Depression, Zulresso (brexanolone)
March 23, 2019 - New guidelines outline new treatment management for psoriasis
March 23, 2019 - Thermally abused cooking oil may promote progression of breast cancer
March 23, 2019 - High-fructose corn syrup fuels growth of colon tumors in mice
March 23, 2019 - Partnership aims at establishing best practices to promote diversity in clinical trials
March 23, 2019 - New study examines presence of microbes in tap water from residences, office buildings
March 23, 2019 - Early life trauma may affect brain structure, contribute to major depressive disorder
March 23, 2019 - NIH starts clinical trial of drug to treat cravings associated with opioid use disorder
March 23, 2019 - Cervix bacteria, immune factors could be a warning signal of premature birth, reports new research
March 23, 2019 - Worst-ever emergency care performance figures underscore the need to focus on staffing
March 23, 2019 - The Current issue of “The view from here” is concerned with Cancer
March 23, 2019 - Mouse model validates how ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria affect acne
March 23, 2019 - Individual amygdala neurons respond to touch, imagery and sounds
March 23, 2019 - Combination of two topical creams can prevent cancer
March 23, 2019 - Study suggests depression screening when assessing African-Americans for schizophrenia
March 23, 2019 - New electronic support system for choosing drug treatment based on patient’s genotype
March 23, 2019 - First-of-its-kind study provides pregnancy statistics of imprisoned U.S. women
March 23, 2019 - Marinus Pharmaceuticals Initiates Phase 3 Study in Children with PCDH19-Related Epilepsy
March 23, 2019 - Laparoscopy: MedlinePlus Lab Test Information
March 23, 2019 - Shellfish allergies: can they be treated?
March 23, 2019 - Toilet seat heart monitoring system
March 23, 2019 - Researchers identify way to improve common treatment for PTSD
March 23, 2019 - High potency cannabis use linked to psychosis finds study
March 23, 2019 - Evoke Pharma Submits Response to FDA Review Letter for Gimoti NDA
March 23, 2019 - Tracking HIV’s ever-evolving genome in effort to prioritize public health resources
March 23, 2019 - Scientists grow most sophisticated brain organoid to date
March 23, 2019 - ADHD drug raising risk of psychosis
March 22, 2019 - FDA approves brexanolone, first drug developed to treat postpartum depression
March 22, 2019 - Gruesome cat and dog experiments by the USDA exposed
March 22, 2019 - Ball pits used in children’s physical therapy may contribute to germ transmission
March 22, 2019 - Long-term use of inexpensive weight-loss drug may be safe and effective
March 22, 2019 - FDA Approves Sunosi (solriamfetol) for Excessive Daytime Sleepiness Associated with Narcolepsy or Obstructive Sleep Apnea
March 22, 2019 - Anti-Müllerian Hormone Test: MedlinePlus Lab Test Information
March 22, 2019 - Finding the right exercise, diet aids for HIV patients
March 22, 2019 - Health Plans For State Employees Use Medicare’s Hammer On Hospital Bills
March 22, 2019 - Researchers develop new tool for imaging large groups of neurons in living animals
March 22, 2019 - Certain bacteria and immune factors in vagina may cause or protect against preterm birth
March 22, 2019 - Novel breath test could pave new way to non-invasively measure gut health
March 22, 2019 - Pharmaceutical and personal care products may result in new contaminants in waterways
March 22, 2019 - New model could revolutionize the way researchers investigate spread of pathogens
March 22, 2019 - MSU professor receives NSF CAREER grant for biosensor diagnostics
March 22, 2019 - High-fat, high-sugar diet in mouse mothers causes problems in the hearts of offspring
March 22, 2019 - ACC: Catheter Ablation Does Not Cut Mortality, Stroke in A-Fib
March 22, 2019 - Wiedemann-Rautenstrauch syndrome – Genetics Home Reference
March 22, 2019 - Health insurance is not assurance of healthcare
March 22, 2019 - Supporting “curiosity-driven research” at the Discovery Innovation Awards
March 22, 2019 - Must-Reads Of The Week (Some Flying Below The Radar)
March 22, 2019 - Newly engineered nanoscale protein micelles can be tracked by MRI
March 22, 2019 - New model more effective in predicting risk of opioid overdose than traditional models
March 22, 2019 - Mayo Clinic study identifies potential new drug therapy for liver diseases
March 22, 2019 - Pitt engineers win $550,000 NSF CAREER award to develop new intervention for people with ASD
March 22, 2019 - Early discharge does not increase readmission risk for patients after lung surgery
March 22, 2019 - Creating diverse pool of trained scientists to address Alzheimer’s research needs
March 22, 2019 - Surprising discovery offers clues to limit graft-vs.-host disease
March 22, 2019 - Study shows ACA’s positive impact on healthcare affordability and access for women
March 22, 2019 - Study provides new pathway for controlling inflammation
March 22, 2019 - New combination treatment shows promise for common brain tumor in children
March 22, 2019 - Virginia Tech Helmet Lab releases first youth-specific football helmet ratings
March 22, 2019 - New algae-based treatment could reduce need for limb amputation
The United States records highest drug overdose death rates

The United States records highest drug overdose death rates

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print

In the most comprehensive international comparison of its kind, a USC study found that the United States has the highest drug overdose death rates among a set of high-income countries.

Drug overdose mortality has reached unprecedented levels in the United States, more than tripling over the past two decades. But is this a uniquely American epidemic, or are other high-income counties facing a similar crisis?

“The United States is experiencing a drug overdose epidemic of unprecedented magnitude, not only judging by its own history but also compared to the experiences of other high-income countries,” said study author Jessica Ho, assistant professor at USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology. “For over a decade now, the United States has had the highest drug overdose mortality among its peer countries.”

The study, published February 21 in Population and Development Review, found that drug overdose death rates in the United States are 3.5 times higher on average when compared to 17 other high-income counties. The study is the first to demonstrate that the drug overdose epidemic is contributing to the widening gap in life expectancy between the United States and other high-income countries.

Drug overdose deaths cut into American life expectancy

The study found that prior to the early 2000s, Finland and Sweden had the highest levels of drug overdose mortality. Drug overdose mortality in the United States is now more than 27 times higher than in Italy and Japan, which have the lowest drug overdose death rates, and double that of Finland and Sweden, the countries with the next highest death rates.

By 2013, drug overdose accounted for 12 percent and 8 percent of the average life expectancy gap for men and women, respectively, between the United States and other high-income countries. Without drug overdose deaths, the increase in this gap between 2003 and 2013 would have been smaller: one-fifth smaller for men and one-third smaller for women.

“The American epidemic has important consequences for international comparisons of life expectancy. While the United States is not alone in experiencing increases in drug overdose mortality, the magnitude of the differences in levels of drug overdose mortality is staggering,” said Ho.

In 2003, life expectancy at birth would have been 0.28 years higher for American men and 0.17 years higher for American women in the absence of drug overdose deaths. Ten years later, these figures had increased to 0.45 years for American men and 0.30 years for women. In both 2003 and 2013, the United States lost the most years of life from drug overdose among high-income countries, with the difference increasing dramatically over that time period.

“On average, Americans are living 2.6 fewer years than people in other high-income countries. This puts the United States more than a decade behind the life expectancy levels achieved by other high-income countries. American drug overdose deaths are widening this already significant gap and causing us to fall even further behind our peer countries,” Ho said.

A uniquely American phenomena – but will it stay that way?

Over 70,000 people died from drug overdoses in the United States in 2017, and the National Safety Council announced in January that Americans are now more likely to die of an accidental opioid overdose than in a car crash.

Potential drivers of the country’s strikingly elevated drug overdose mortality levels include health care provision, financing and institutional structures, such as fee-for-service reimbursement systems and tying physician reimbursement to patient satisfaction. Additional factors include a well-documented marketing blitz by the manufacturers of Oxycontin, American cultural attitudes towards pain and the medical establishment, and the scarcity of substance abuse treatment in the United States, where only an estimated 10 percent of those with a substance abuse disorder receive treatment.

Despite its rapid ascent to the top of this tragic list, the United States may soon have competition for its dubious distinction. Ho points to the potential for drug overdose mortality to increase in other countries in the near future, noting similar and troubling patterns in Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom.

While opioids became a cornerstone of pain treatment in the late 1990s and early 2000s in the United States, other countries either didn’t use strong opioids for pain relief or placed greater restrictions on their use. Exceptions include Australia, which experienced a switch from weak to strong opioids that is reflected in its 14-fold increase in oxycodone consumption between 1997 and 2008, and Ontario, Canada, which saw an 850 percent increase in oxycodone prescriptions between 1991 and 2007. Both countries also experienced large increases in drug overdose mortality.

Although the current American epidemic started with prescription opioids, it is now rapidly transitioning to heroin and fentanyl. European countries may be on the opposite trajectory, which could nonetheless result in more drug overdose deaths over time. “The use of prescription opioids and synthetic drugs like fentanyl are becoming increasingly common in many high-income countries and constitute a common challenge to be confronted by these countries,” Ho said.

The USC study utilized data on cause of death from the Human Mortality Database and the World Health Organization Mortality Database for the set of 18 countries, along with additional data from vital statistics agencies in Canada and the United States to produce country-, year-, sex-, and age-specific drug overdose death rates between 1994 and 2015. Deaths from both legal and illegal drugs (not limited to opioids) and deaths of all intents were included.​

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles