Elderly Americans are being slammed by America’s drug epidemic, with overdose and alcohol-related deaths surging since 2020 according to official data.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that 8.8 per every 100,000 Americans 65 and up died of an overdose in 2020, up from 2.4 in 2000, a three-fold increase.
A total of 5,209 elderly Americans died of an overdose in 2020. Synthetic opioids like fentanyl were the driving force behind the surge.
Alcohol was the source of 11,616 deaths in the age group, and rose 18 per cent from 2019 to 2020 – jumping from 17 to 20.1 per 100,000.
The trend follows that of the general population, where economic hardship and mental health issues spurred by the pandemic are blamed for record drug overdoses in America.
Drug overdose deaths among elderly Americans increased more than three-fold from 2000 to 2020, with men being slammed the hardest, according to official CDC data
Deaths caused by synthetic opioids like fentanyl began to surge in 2015 after remaining relatively low beforehand. They now make up the largest portion of drug overdose deaths in America and among the elderly
The report, published by the National Center for Health Statistics, a part of the CDC, Wednesday, compiled death data from 2021.
The 8.8 deaths per 100,000 residents is a new high since the turn of the century, and represents a massive surge over the past two decades.
It was mainly fueled by men, who saw overdose deaths increase nearly five-fold, from 2.7 per 100,000 to more than 12.3 per 100,000.
Scientists create a vaccine for FENTANYL that stops you from getting ‘high’ on potent opioid
A new vaccine may be able to totally block the effects of fentanyl — potentially saving thousands of Americans from overdoses each year.
Researchers at the University of Houston, in Texas, developed a shot that was able to stop the extremely potent drug from entering the brains of rats.
Fentanyl binds to opioid receptors in areas of the brain that control pain and emotions. During an overdose, the brain is starved of oxygen, which kills off neurons.
The shot was able to block the drug from entering the brain without affecting other painkillers like morphine, meaning a vaccinated person could still be treated with other drugs if needed.
The vaccine works by stimulating T-cells in the immune system to create antibodies which bind to fentanyl in the bloodstream.
These immune proteins catch the drug as it enters the body and prevent it from spreading further and causing harm. It then gets processed in the kidney and flushed from the body.
Researchers told DailyMail.com the vaccine could be used by people suffering from opioid use disorder or college students who experiment with illicit substances.
Fentanyl was developed as a painkiller to be used in hospitals but its cheap manufacturing costs and high potency has made it a favorable cutting agent for drug dealers.
Meth, cocaine and street Xanax are just some of the drugs that are being laced with fentanyl. Just 2milligrams — the equivalent of five grains of salt — of fentanyl is enough to cause an overdose.
America is currently in the midst of a fentanyl epidemic, with around 200 Americans dying from the synthetic opioid every day. To put that in context, Covid is currently responsible for around 290 deaths per day, according to most recent official data.
Deaths have increased steadily among women, doubling from 2.3 to 5.8 deaths per 100,000 over the 20 year span.
The responsibility of synthetic opioids as a cause of death surged as well.
Non-methadone synthetic opioids, which includes all forms of fentanyl were responsible for 2.9 deaths out of every 100,000 elderly Americans.
No other drug is responsible for more than two deaths per 100,000.
That figure increased 53 per cent from 2019 to 2020 alone, jumping from 1.9 per 100,000 only a year earlier.
Fentanyl is a highly deadly drug developed as a potent pain-killer to be used in hospital settings.
It has found its way to the illicit drug supply in recent years, with some dealer cutting their product with it to boost its strength.
Just 2milligrams — the equivalent of five grains of salt — of fentanyl is enough to cause an overdose.
While the CDC research team did not determine a cause for the spike in overdose deaths among the elderly, it matches overall trends.
The agency reported a record 108,000 drug overdose deaths across the US in 2021 – a new record and an increase of 16 per cent from the year prior.
Many have attributed this to the COVID-19 pandemic, with lockdowns causing mental health issues in millions of Americans.
Others who were already struggling with drug abuse suddenly had treatment disrupted and were pulled away from their existing support systems.
Synthetic opioids like fentanyl were responsible for around 70,000 of the more than 100,000 deaths.
Alcohol-induced deaths are on the rise as well.
The CDC reported 20.1 deaths per every 100,000 Americans aged 65 or older in 2020. This is an 18.2 per cent rise from 2019.
Men were significantly more likely to suffer a death related to alcohol than women. In 2020, men between 43.4 or every 100,000 men between ages 65 and 74 died an alcohol-induced death.
This is compared to 12.9 among women of the same age – a more-than three-fold difference.
While CDC researchers did not pin-point a cause for this either, it also follows a general US trend.
Earlier this month, the CDC revealed that alcohol deaths across the entire population increased 30 per cent from 2019 to 2020.