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Baby boomers and millennials worst affected by opioid epidemic, says study

Baby boomers and millennials worst affected by opioid epidemic, says study

The opioid crisis of America has left the baby boomers and the millennials most affected, said a recent study, published online in the American Journal of Public Health in November 2017. It found that boomers—born between 1946 and 1964—reported the highest fatalities from prescription opioids and heroin since 2010. While on the other hand, the millennials—in their twenties and thirties—have become victims of heroin overdoses.

Lead author Dr. Guohua Li, a professor of epidemiology at the Columbia University, said that although the opioid crisis has affected all the sections of the society, these two generations were the worst hit. “What we’re seeing is that these two generations are at the highest risk,” he said.

Boomers unlucky to dash onto opioids

Although Li claimed it as a mere conjecture, it could be likely that since the baby boomers turned middle-aged just at the moment when opioids began to surface—in the 1990s—they became the primary target for such prescriptions. The baby boomers have a reputation for having a relatively higher rate of drug abuse compared to other generations.

Analyzing the national vital statistics for the period between 1999 and 2014, the study found that boomers were 27 percent more likely to die from a prescription opioid overdose compared to those born in the late seventies. Apart from that, they were also 33 percent more prone to die of a heroin overdose. Comparatively, among the millennials, heroin overdose deaths soared the most. They were 23 percent more susceptible to die from a heroin overdose compared to those born in the late 1970s.

Addiction statistics startling

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) revealed that in 2015, more than 2 million people in the U.S. abused opioids, including heroin and prescription opioids like Vicodin (hydrocodone), OxyContin (oxycodone) and codeine. Although prescription opioid abuse has waned considerably in the country, overdose deaths have not receded.

Another study by the U.S. government earlier this year looked into the effect of heroin alone and found that it had scaled past 533 percent nationwide from 2002 through 2016. From 2,089 overdose deaths in 2002, the death toll involving heroin climbed to more than 13,200 in 2016.

Though tireless efforts from the government and other stakeholders have resulted in a decline in the opioid prescriptions, the overall death rate is yet to fall, said Robert Heimer, an epidemiology professor at the Yale School of Public Health. Not involved with the study, he said that the study findings “suggested that it’s the older and younger generations that are being the most affected by this epidemic.”

Dealing with drug addiction

Whether it is the baby boomers or the millennials, people, in general, need to be careful about an opioid overdose. The situation holds the same prelude to disaster for all the sections of the society. However, with treatment, one can overcome any addiction and gain sobriety. If you have a loved one struggling with an addiction, seek immediate professional help.

Sovereign Health is a leading substance abuse treatment provider with state-of-the-art drug addiction treatment centers in California and other states in the U.S. We understand the plight of someone, who is unable to discontinue the use of harmful drugs in spite of being aware of its negative impact on his or her life. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 855-683-9756 or chat online with our trained representatives for more information about our evidence-based drug rehab treatment programs in California.