NON-opioid Overdose Death Rates Rising

Nonopioid Overdose Death Rates Rose Almost As Fast As Those Involving Opioids, 1999-2016. – PubMed – NCBI – Jul 2019

I’m sure we’ll be hearing more and more about overdose deaths from illicit fentanyl and multi-drug combinations. In one narrow aspect, the DEA has succeeded: prescription opioids are extremely difficult to get hold of these days, even if you have a medically legitimate need.

So whoever needs the effective relief opioids provide from intractable (incurable, lifelong) pain, has to procure them on the black market, where they often end up with counterfeit versions.

The number of Americans dying from drug overdoses has risen rapidly, but the contribution of nonopioid drugs to this growth is not well understood.   

Using vital statistics data from the universe of deaths among US residents in the period 1999-2016, I calculated levels of and increases in overall nonopioid fatal overdose rates and those for subgroups stratified by manner of death, sex, race/ethnicity, and age.

Mortality rates were also calculated separately for sedatives, stimulants, antidepressants, and cocaine.

Recently developed methods were used to correct for the incomplete reporting of drug involvement on death certificates.

This study actually looked behind all the incompletely documented death certificates that hid what is becoming increasingly clear: that prescribed opioids were never the real problem.

But any death that involved any opioid was immediately assumed to be an”opioid overdose”

From 1999 to 2016 the number of nonopioid drug deaths rose 274 percent, and deaths per 100,000 population rose by 223 percent.

Over the same period, opioid-involved fatality counts and rates grew by 371 percent and 307 percent, respectively.

Fatal overdose rates involving stimulants increased more than tenfold, with slower growth but higher rates for deaths involving sedatives and cocaine.

Midlife non-Hispanic whites generally experienced the highest levels and rise in nonopioid death rates, but cocaine fatality rates were particularly common among nonwhite or Hispanic males ages 40-59.

Policies designed to curb the opioid epidemic are probably helpful in reducing nonopioid deaths, but targeted interventions may also be needed.

2 thoughts on “NON-opioid Overdose Death Rates Rising

  1. Glen

    It always was and continues to be Mainly the illicit and illegal Street Drugs including illicit fentanyl and subsets of that! Our own CDC published that Less than .02% of overdose deaths were from Legally prescribed opiod meds! Less than 2% of all Legally prescribed opiod meds are ever abused in any way. We have been fed Outright Lies telling us different all for Profit! All this is easily proven by anyone with internet access. Millions of innocent CPP are being Forced to Suffer inhumanely and Tortured by all this because the meds they Need just to function has been Forcefully taken away or drastically reduced. This is Wrong in every way possible! The people in power could Not care Less about them because along with power they are making huge Profits.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Zyp Czyk Post author

      Yes, it’s morally heinous to leave people suffering completely unnecessary pain. But opioid pills are actually by far the cheapest way of managing chronic pain. For the last several years, I’ve had my annual physical, but outside of that I only needed ongoing prescriptions, so I was using hardly any medical resources at all.

      That’s why insurance companies were so enamored of these “magic pills” that they stopped paying for anything else, claiming “alternative” therapies weren’t scientifically proven to be effective. They were certainly right about that.

      But by only paying for opioids, they pushed people who could have benefitted from other therapies and treatments to “just pop a pill”. This saved the insurance companies tons of money for many years. The turnaround now to claim opioids don’t work for chronic pain proves how they always do what’s in their financial best interest and nothing else.

      That’s what happens when we let profiteering corporations decide and manage our healthcare.



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