Opioid overdose deaths surge among older adults, study shows

The opioid epidemic has not spared older Americans, as overdose deaths among Americans ages 55 and older have steadily increased from 1999-2019, according to a study published Jan. 11 in JAMA Network Open.

The study examined opioid overdose deaths among Americans ages 55 and older that occurred between Jan. 1, 1999, and Dec. 31, 2019.

The researchers found that the annual number of overdose deaths among older Americans increased from 518 in 1999 to 10,292 in 2019. During the period studied, 79,893 older Americans died from an opioid overdose. Eighty percent of these people were between ages 55 and 64.

The study also found Black men ages 55 and older were four times more likely to die from an opioid overdose than other men in the age range.

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