Driven by the use of synthetic opioids, opioid-related mortality has rapidly increased in the eastern US, a new study found. Researchers conducted a cross-sectional study to assess changes in the geographical distribution of opioid-related mortality across the US by opioid type from 1999‒2016. They found:
- During the study period, a total of 231,264 men and 120,366 women died from opioid-related causes across the entire US.
- Opioid-related mortality rates, especially from synthetic opioids, rapidly increased in all of the eastern US.
- The age-standardized mortality rate from opioids increased more than 2-fold every 2 years in 24 eastern states.
- The life expectancy lost at age 15 from opioids is now greater than that lost from deaths due to firearms or motor vehicle crashes in most of the US.
Kiang MV, Basu S, Chen J, Alexander MJ. Assessment of changes in the geographical distribution of opioid-related mortality across the United States by opioid type, 1999-2016. JAMA Netw Open. 2019;2(2):e190040. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.0040.