The nation’s opioid epidemic is fueling a rise in the overall death rate among Americans ages 25 to 44, according to an analysis of government data by The Washington Post.
Death rates in this age group have increased in almost every racial and ethnic group since the beginning of this decade, the newspaper found. The death rate rose 12 percent among whites, 4 percent among African Americans, 7 percent among Hispanics and 18 percent among Native Americans.
The increase has been due in large part to drug overdoses and alcohol abuse, the analysis found. Opioid use is a major factor in the increase, the article notes.
“What it reflects is an out-of-control epidemic right now,” Josh Sharfstein, Director of the Bloomberg American Health Initiative at Johns Hopkins, told the newspaper. “It’s affecting the economy. It’s affecting the entire community. This is an absolute call to action for public health.”