The US is in the midst of a devastating drug-related drug overdose crisis that is driven by opiate-related deaths. But new research from the University of Southern California highlights how terribly historic the situation is. America's overdose mortality is believed to have disappeared alongside any such rich country, with annual mortality nearly 30 times higher than that of Japan and Italy.
USC sociologist Jessica Ho views the overdose deaths of 18 – In the 1990s, in US mortality was stable in the middle of the package, while the percentage in countries such as Finland and Sweden was slightly over the rest. But by 2000, four years after the powerful painkiller OxyContin entered the market, it was already climbing. Until 2003, men's mortality rates in the US were highest among all countries; until 2005 the same applies to women. Since then, the US has not released any of the top spots.
Her findings were published on Thursday in the Population and Development Survey. "The United States is experiencing a drug overdose epidemic of unprecedented magnitude, judging not only on its own history but also on the experience of other high-income countries," she wrote. "For more than a decade, the United States had the highest overdose mortality among its partner countries."
In 2013 (last year there was country data for each country), the overdose death rate in men in the United States was 16.97 deaths per 100,000 people after age correction. By contrast, Japan's rate is 0.60 deaths per 100,000 men, which is more than 28 times the difference. The average US overdose mortality rate was 3.5 times higher than in the rest of the world in 2013. And even compared with Finland and Sweden, mortality was still 60% higher. to show how much the crisis is the only American problem. One study last year found that, compared to European countries, the number of donor organ transplants from the US has dramatically increased in recent years, almost entirely due to overdose deaths. But Ho says her study is the first to make such a comprehensive comparison of the US and similar countries. Her findings also confirm the suspicion that the crisis is directly responsible for increasing the difference in life expectancy between the US and other countries. nations. The United States is lagging behind in its life for a while, but the number of overdose deaths that often happen in young or middle age has only dragged us even further. According to her, in 2013 the difference in average life expectancy would be 9% on average and 34% less on men and women, without these added deaths. and worsening productivity in the United States compared to other high-income countries, this is an important factor in the recent increase in the US average life expectancy, "she said.
It's amazing that Ho's findings may be underestimated how much worse it is than the United States. for the rest, given that the final year of the survey is 2013. In 2014, 47,000 people died of an overdose in the US, but by 2017 this number has reached over 70,000, with more than 40,000 deaths are associated with opiates (many deaths may involve more than one drug). This increase is mainly due to the presence of synthetic opiates such as fentanyl, which are more potent and sometimes even falsely sold on the street as other safer drugs.
On the other hand, while non-US countries have largely eschewed or severely restricted the use of prescribed opioid painkillers, neighboring Canada is experiencing its own, smaller version of the crisis. And the pharmaceutical industry as a whole is trying to expand its territory to the poorer countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia where access to painkillers is historically low. The industry – including Purdue Pharma, the OxyContin makers – is accused of carrying out the same fraudulent campaigns they have used in the United States to promote opiate use in these countries.
This is a strategy, notes Ho. health experts have likened tobacco companies setting up shop in low-income countries after losing their battles to keep people smoking in the US and elsewhere.
"If OxyContin follows the same route, it will be a serious problem, as regulatory structures, healthcare systems and surveillance systems are much less developed in low-income countries, making them more vulnerable to aggressive marketing than pharmaceutical companies, and there is a strong likelihood that the serious overdose epidemic will develop with very little warning in those countries, "she warned.