The US has more than twice the rate of premature overdose deaths of at least 12 other countries, according to a new study.
The research says that there were an estimated 63,632 deaths by drug overdose in 2016 in the United States.
The United States has the highest death rate due to drug overdoses for people (35 deaths in 100,000 men and 20 deaths in 100,000 women). in 2015, more than twice to those of any other country in our study.
Mexico had the lowest rates, i.e. 1 death per 100,000 men and 0.2 deaths per 100,000 women.
The researchers also found out that the US had the 2nd-highest increase in drug overdose deaths. 4.3 % per year in men and 5.3 % per year in women. Only Estonia showed a higher rate of increase.
Norway was found to have the biggest rate of decrease in drug overdose mortality for the whole population. Decreases were also found among people in Mexico, Spanish men, and Danish women.
Researchers saw the trends and patterns of drug overdose deaths among people aged 20 – 64 years in 13 countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development between 2001-2015.
The countries were Australia, Chile, Denmark, England, Wales, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, and the US.
We think it reinforces what we know about the US but also points out some of the contrast in terms of the ways other countries have dealt with similar issues.
The researchers both point out that opioids play a part in the high levels of drug overdose deaths in the US.
The study refers to US opioid deaths as “triple epidemic waves,” starting with prescription opioid deaths in the late 1990s, heroin deaths beginning in 2010 and finally deaths by synthetic opioids, which include fentanyl.
Other countries have found out solutions to high rates of opioid-related deaths.
When France got rid of the restrictions on prescribers using the medication buprenorphine, their national mortality, opiate overdose mortality rate dropped by 79 %.
Buprenorphine is a drug approved by the US Food and Drug Administration that can be used, alongside behavioral therapies and counseling to help with treatments of opioid addiction. It is the first-ever medication to treat opioid dependency that is permitted to be prescribed or dispensed in physician offices, significantly increasing treatment access.
Creating better access to substance abuse disorder treatments, along with a better national understanding that these are treatable medical conditions, would help in reducing the number of overdose-related deaths in the US. This mainly includes giving more people access to medications that could help treat and manage opiate addiction.
That’s really fundamentally what I think we need to take away from these data finding is that there are solutions, and other countries have them. We are not doing the dramatic things that we need to be doing.