Nav: Home

Is the drug overdose epidemic unique to the United States?

February 21, 2019

Is the current American drug overdose epidemic an isolated phenomenon? Have other high-income countries experienced similar increases in drug overdose mortality, or are they likely to going forward? A new study published in Population and Development Review addresses these questions.

By examining drug overdose death rates between 1994 and 2015 in 18 countries, Dr. Jessica Ho, of the University of Southern California, found that for over a decade now, the United States has had the highest rates of drug overdose mortality among its peer countries. Drug overdose mortality has increased rapidly in the United States over the course of the contemporary epidemic, resulting in its dramatic pulling away from other high-income countries.

Drug overdose mortality is now 3.5 times higher on average in the United States than other high-income countries. It is over 27 times higher than in Italy and Japan, which have the lowest drug overdose death rates. Between 2003 and 2013, drug overdose mortality increased by 0.73 (men) and 0.26 (women) deaths per 100,000 on average in the comparison countries compared with increases of 5.53 (men) and 4.15 (women) deaths per 100,000 in the United States.

The potential remains for drug overdose mortality to increase in other countries in the near future, and similar and troubling signs are already discernible in some countries.

"One of the most surprising findings from this study is that while Americans now have the highest drug overdose death rates, this hasn't always been the case. In the late 1990s, Nordic countries like Finland and Sweden had the highest death rates. The countries that now look like they're at greatest risk of following in the U.S.'s footsteps are other Anglophone countries like Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom," said Dr. Ho. "Over time, we've seen huge shifts in drug overdose, and we need to pay attention to the factors that contribute to the development and continued persistence of this epidemic in the United States and, potentially, whether it spreads to other countries."
-end-


Wiley

Related Drug Overdose Articles:

Overdose risk among youth with family members prescribed opioids
In this study of 72,000 adolescents and young adults, higher risk of youth overdose was associated with exposure to family members with opioid prescriptions and young people's own opioid prescriptions.
Patients most at risk of overdose at the beginning and after end of methadone treatment
A new study, led by RCSI researchers, has found that patients receiving methadone treatment are most at risk of overdosing in the month following the end of methadone treatment and during the first four weeks of treatment.
Medicaid expansion associated with fewer opioid overdose deaths across the US
The expansion of Medicaid coverage for low-income adults permitted by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was associated with a 6% reduction in total opioid overdose deaths nationally, according to new research from NYU Grossman School of Medicine and University of California, Davis.
Changes in opioid-related drug overdose deaths in US
Researchers analyzed changes in the proportion of drug overdose deaths involving opioids that were certified as suicide, unintentional or of undetermined intent in this observational study.
Neighborhood matters for fentanyl-involved overdose deaths
Fentanyl overdoses cluster geographically more than non-fentanyl overdoses, according to a Columbia study, and are concentrated in resource deprived neighborhoods over and above what data show for opioid and polydrug overdoses.
Craigslist linked to 15% increase in drug abuse facilities, 6% increase in overdose deaths
New research in the INFORMS journal Management Science looks at the influence online platforms have on the rising illegal drug epidemic.
Opioid overdose deaths among younger medicare patients with disability
This observational study estimated the rate of opioid overdose deaths among Medicare enrollees younger than 65 who qualified for Medicare because of a disability.
Study teases out factors associated with postpartum overdose
A new study in the journal Addiction that uncovers several risk factors associated with postpartum opioid overdose.
Drug overdose deaths in CT doubled in 6 years
Opioid overdose deaths in Connecticut doubled in the past 6 years, largely driven by use of multiple drugs together, according to a team of researchers from the University of Connecticut and Yale University.
One in three young adults receive medication for opioid use disorder after overdose
A new study found that one in three young adults receive medication for opioid use disorder within 12 months of a non-fatal opioid overdose.
More Drug Overdose News and Drug Overdose Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: Reinvention
Change is hard, but it's also an opportunity to discover and reimagine what you thought you knew. From our economy, to music, to even ourselves–this hour TED speakers explore the power of reinvention. Guests include OK Go lead singer Damian Kulash Jr., former college gymnastics coach Valorie Kondos Field, Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs, and entrepreneur Nick Hanauer.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#562 Superbug to Bedside
By now we're all good and scared about antibiotic resistance, one of the many things coming to get us all. But there's good news, sort of. News antibiotics are coming out! How do they get tested? What does that kind of a trial look like and how does it happen? Host Bethany Brookeshire talks with Matt McCarthy, author of "Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic", about the ins and outs of testing a new antibiotic in the hospital.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Speedy Beet
There are few musical moments more well-worn than the first four notes of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. But in this short, we find out that Beethoven might have made a last-ditch effort to keep his music from ever feeling familiar, to keep pushing his listeners to a kind of psychological limit. Big thanks to our Brooklyn Philharmonic musicians: Deborah Buck and Suzy Perelman on violin, Arash Amini on cello, and Ah Ling Neu on viola. And check out The First Four Notes, Matthew Guerrieri's book on Beethoven's Fifth. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.