Drug overdose deaths are continuing to rise among women, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Women ages 30-64 are still vulnerable to dying from a drug overdose, according to the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, released Thursday. The CDC said it examined overdose death rates among women in that age bracket from 1999–2017 overall and by drug subcategories including antidepressants, benzodiazepines, cocaine, heroin, prescription opioids, and synthetic opioids, excluding methadone.
Key findings from the CDC were:
- Drug overdose deaths continue to rise among women.
The crude drug overdose death rate among women ages 30–64 years increased by 260 percent between 1999 and 2017. The rate went from 6.7 drug overdose deaths per 100,000 population (4,314 deaths) in 1999 to 24.3 (18,110 deaths) in 2017.
- The age distribution of drug overdose deaths among middle-aged women changed. Among women ages 30–64, the average age of death from drug overdoses increased by nearly three years.
- Opioids are a significant contributor to the rise in overdose deaths among women ages 30-64. However, analyses confirm that the recent sharp increases in the drug overdose epidemic were driven by deaths involving synthetic opioids, like illicitly manufactured fentanyl (IMF).
- During this time, rates of drug overdose deaths increased for those involving synthetic opioids (1,643 percent), heroin (915 percent), benzodiazepines (830 percent), prescription opioids (485 percent), cocaine (280 percent) and antidepressants (176 percent).