FRIDAY, Nov. 1, 2019 (HealthDay News) — From 2015 to 2017, there were increases in opioid-involved and synthetic opioid-involved overdose drug rates in nearly all racial/ethnic groups, according to research published in the Nov. 1 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Kumiko M. Lippold, Ph.D., from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, D.C., and colleagues examined changes in overdose death rates involving any opioid and synthetic opioids among persons aged ≥18 years during 2015 to 2017 by age and race/ethnicity across metropolitan areas.

The researchers observed increases in opioid-involved and synthetic opioid-involved overdose death rates among nearly all racial/ethnic groups and age groups, especially among blacks aged 45 to 54 years (from 19.3 to 41.9 per 100,000) and aged 55 to 64 years (from 21.8 to 42.7 per 100,000) in large central metro areas and among non-Hispanic whites aged 25 to 34 years in large fringe metropolitan areas (from 36.9 to 58.3 per 100,000). Across all racial/ethnic and age groups, the percentage of all opioid-involved overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids increased from 2015 to 2017 in each metropolitan area category; in all metro areas, the greatest level of synthetic opioid involvement in opioid-involved overdose deaths was among blacks by 2017.

“These findings underscore the changing demographics and populations affected by the opioid overdose epidemic as the illicit drug supply continues to evolve,” the authors write.

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