- Among women who die of a drug overdose, the average age is rising.
- Clinicians should note that age does not protect women from fatal overdose.
Why this matters
- Drug overdose mortality is rising in women.
- This study examines trends for specific drugs and age groups.
- For women aged 30-64 years, drug overdose deaths per 100,000 population:
- Crude rate: 6.7 in 1999; 24.3 in 2017 (260% increase);
- Opioid-involved: 2.6 in 1999; 15.5 in 2017 (492% increase).
- Average age at death rose 2.8 years over the study period.
- Rises in drug overdose deaths by specific drug types:
- Synthetic opioids: 1643%;
- Heroin: 915%;
- Benzodiazepines: 830%;
- Prescription opioids: 485%;
- Cocaine: 280%;
- Antidepressants: 176%.
- Rise by age group, 1999-2017:
- 30-34 years: 350%;
- 35-39 years: 200%;
- 45-49 years: 200%;
- 50-54 years: 350%;
- 55-64 years: nearly 500%.
- Age groups with largest increases by drug type:
- Antidepressants: almost 400% rise in 55-59-year-olds;
- Heroin: from
- Prescription opioids: >1000% increase in those aged 55-64 years.
- Analysis of overdose death rates in women aged 30-64 years, 1999-2017.
- Outcome: mortality by drug subcategory; changes in age distribution.
- Funding: CDC.
- Overdoses involving drug combinations not assessed.