A new study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that the latest opioid epidemic—while affecting every generation at some level—seems to have the biggest impact on the baby boomer and millennial generations. Overall, more than 2 million Americans were abusing opioids in 2015, according to the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse.
A research team led by Dr. Guohua Li, a professor of epidemiology at Columbia University, found that baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) have had higher rates of opioid and heroin deaths since 2010. They were up to 27% more likely to die of a prescription opioid overdose and up to one-third more likely to die of a heroin overdose.
Millennials (those born in the 1980s to early 1990s) were 23% more likely to die of a heroin overdose compared with the generation before them. The study looked at statistics from the years 1999 to 2014.
The reasons for these statistics are unknown. However, Dr. Li mentions that the baby boomer generation has a high rate of drug abuse compared to other generations, and people of this age group were middle-aged when opioid prescriptions became popular. In other words, they were a target market for the prescriptions.
Although efforts to reduce opioid prescriptions have been helpful, the deaths from heroin have jumped by 533& nationwide between 2002 and 2016. That’s because many individuals who are addicted to opioids turn to heroin or synthetic opioids, like fentanyl.
Limits on opioid prescriptions and drug monitoring programs have helped to reduce prescription abuse, but experts agree that access to addiction treatment is vital to cut down on the rates of overdose.
Baby Boomers and Millennials Hardest Hit in Opioid Crisis
Posted On: 11-24-2017
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