Older adult opioid overdose death rates on the rise

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A common stereotype for an “older adult” might include early-bird specials, dentures and tickets to the matinee show. A new Northwestern Medicine study that analyzed 20 years of fatal opioid overdose data in adults 55 and older paints a much different picture. Between 1999 and 2019, opioid-related overdose deaths increased exponentially in U.S. adults ages 55 and older, from 518 deaths in 1999 to 10,292 deaths in 2019: a 1,886% increase.

“Many of us think drug misuse is a problem of the young. However, older adults are experiencing an explosion in fatal opioid overdoses,” said Maryann Mason, an associate professor of emergency medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

Read full study by Maryann Mason

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