Opioids Cost Americans more than half-a-million years of life

More than half-a-million years of life have been lost to opioid use in Ohio over the last seven years. About 13,000 Ohio residents died from opioid overdose between 2010 and 2016, accounting for 519,471 years of lost life expectancy, according to a new study by the Ohio Alliance for Innovation in Population Health.

Cuyahoga County, where Cleveland is located, ranked first with 62,000 years of lost life expectancy. Franklin County, which houses the state’s capital Columbus, ranked second in most years of life lost, with more than 49,000 years of potential life lost. “These are people in the prime of life during their most productive years,” Rick Hodges, director of OIAPH, said in a statement.

The researchers analyzed data from the Ohio Department of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics and Ohio Death Certificate File from 2010 to 2016. Years of life lost were calculated at state and county levels. Opioid overdoses jumped 30% between July 2016 and September 2017 in 45 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The Midwest saw a 70% spike over the same period.

Death by opioid overdoses has risen significantly over the last 20 years. More than 350,000 people died from opioid overdose between 1999 and 2016, and 2016 alone saw more than five times as many deaths than in 1999, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

There were three significant waves of increased overdose deaths: in the 1990s, mostly because of prescribed opioid use; in 2010, due to heroin; and since 2013, linked with fentanyl. The opioid crisis in 2015 cost $504 billion, due to health-care bills, criminal justice costs and lost productivity, according to the Council of Economic Advisers, part of the Executive Office of the President.

Some people are at higher risk of opioid overdose than others. Many blue-collar, white middle-aged men have lost the battle against substance abuse. About half of adults with a disability receiving Medicare benefits received an opioid prescription in the span of a year.

Opioid prescriptions were highest in places with lower median household incomes and higher rates of unemployment, and higher for people between 55 and 65 years old compared to younger Americans, according to the CDC.

The latest data from Ohio provides a glimpse at the scale of the problem nationwide. “One of the most heartbreaking aspects of the opioid epidemic is the incredible loss of life as so many young people die of overdoses,” said Randy Leite, dean of the Ohio College of Health and Sciences and Professions.

Reference: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/this-state-lost-more-than-500000-years-of-life-expectancy-to-opioids-2018-06-18
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