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Drug-related mortality rates are not randomly distributed across the US [sciencedaily.com]

 

Drug-related deaths have grown to be a major US public health problem over the past two decades. Between 2006 and 2015 there were more than 515,000 deaths from drug overdoses and other drug-related causes. The economic, social, and emotional tolls of these deaths are substantial, but some parts of the US are bearing heavier burdens than others. Evidence from the first national study of county-level differences suggests that addressing economic and social conditions will be key to reversing the rising tide of drug deaths, reports the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

"The drug epidemic is a pressing concern among policymakers," noted Shannon M. Monnat, PhD, Associate Professor of Sociology and Lerner Chair for Public Health Promotion, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York, USA, who conducted the study. "The media portrayal of the drug overdose epidemic has largely been that it is a national crisis. However, drug deaths are not randomly distributed across the US. My analyses show that some places in the US have much higher drug mortality rates than others."

Using data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Multiple-Cause of Death Files (2006-2015), US Census Bureau, US Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development, the study modeled associations between county-level drug-related mortality rates and economic, social, and healthcare environments.

[For more on this study by Elsevier, go to https://www.sciencedaily.com/r.../03/180326090340.htm]

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Powerful ....
From the article:
"We need to get real with ourselves about the US drug problem," explained Dr Monnat. "We are not going to Narcan our way out of this. Opioids are a symptom of much larger social and economic problems. Just as other chronic diseases have underlying social determinants, addiction is also a social disease.

'Addiction does not discriminate' is a soundbite that ignores the reality that overdose rates are highest in economically distressed communities ....

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