Now Opioids’ Victims Span Gender and Generation

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The numbers are daunting.  What began more than two decades ago as a public health problem primarily associated with young and white middle-aged males has grown into an epidemic of prescription and illicit opioid abuse across generational and gender boundaries. According to new data from 1999-2017 in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly report, the drug overdose death rate among U.S. women 30 to 64 years old climbed more than 260%. Researchers found that deaths caused by antidepressants, benzodiazepines, cocaine, heroin, prescription opioids and synthetic opioids (excluding methadone) increased for this group from 4,314 deaths in 1999 to 18,110 deaths in 2017. The report also found that drug overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids increased 1,643%.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, men may be more likely than women to use almost all types of illicit drugs, but women are just as likely as men to develop a substance use disorder. Beyond this, women may be more susceptible to craving and relapse which should be of particular interest to employers who favor rehabilitation over termination in their substance abuse policies.

These odds work against you. If the continuing use of opioids in spite of overwhelming evidence of the risks isn’t enough to heighten concerns, consider this. For the first time on record the odds of accidentally dying from an opioid overdose in the U.S are now greater than those of dying in an automobile accident. The National Safety Council analyzed preventable injury and fatality statistics from 2017 and found the lifetime odds of dying from an accidental opioid overdose were 1 in 96 versus 1 in 103 for motor vehicle accidents. That is a wakeup call.

Fentanyl hits the stage. More recently, Chico—a California college town—had its largest mass overdose incident due to opioids that left one person dead and twelve others hospitalized. Fentanyl was named as the culprit in this tragic incident. And in the same time frame three cocaine users in Fresno California overdosed on what they thought was just cocaine but turned out to be that drug laced with Fentanyl. “Too many people still believe the opioid crisis is abstract and will not impact them.” says Maureen Vogel, spokeswoman for NSC.

This week’s articles really emphasize that just as the faces using the drugs are morphing, so are the drugs themselves. These new trends are a real threat. Being aware of these new trends and educating our clients about them can empower businesses to improve their chances of creating safer environments for employees.

Drug overdose deaths are skyrocketing among women

The latest—and shocking—research shows drug overdose deaths among women are on a troubling run and have reached a new high. See this striking data here.

The surprising odds of dying from an accidental opioid overdose

In the U.S., preventable injuries are at an all-time high. The significant increase in drug overdose deaths now surpasses the chance of dying in a car accident.

This cluster of California fentanyl overdoses is alarming authorities

In Fresno, California three men bought what they believed to be cocaine. Within two minutes using it, the men were unconscious. Is this a sign of the times?