Regional Differences in the Drugs Most Frequently Involved in Drug Overdose Deaths: United States, 2017October 25, 2019
NCHS report describes regional differences in the specific drugs most frequently involved in drug overdose deaths in the United States in 2017. Data from the 2017 National Vital Statistics System–Mortality files were linked to electronic files containing literal text information from death certificates.
- Among drug overdose deaths in 2017 that mentioned at least 1 specific drug on the death certificate, the 10 drugs most frequently involved included fentanyl, heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, alprazolam, oxycodone, morphine, methadone, hydrocodone, and diphenhydramine.
- Regionally, 6 drugs (alprazolam, cocaine, fentanyl, heroin, methadone, and oxycodone) were found among the 10 most frequently involved drugs in all 10 HHS regions, although the relative ranking varied by region.
- Age-adjusted rates of drug overdose deaths involving fentanyl or deaths involving cocaine were higher in the regions east of the Mississippi River, while age-adjusted rates for drug overdose deaths involving methamphetamine were higher in the West.
- The regional patterns observed did not change after adjustment for differences in the specificity of drug reporting.
Questions for Lead Author Sally Curtin, Health Statistician, of “Death Rates Due to Suicide and Homicide Among Persons Aged 10–24: United States, 2000–2017.”
Q: Why did you decide to focus on ages 10 through 24 for suicides and homicides?
SC: Suicide and homicide are among the leading causes of death for this age range. As there are almost no suicides below the age of 10, we began with age 10 and decided to go through the young adults age range, through age 24.
Q: How did the data vary by age groups?
SC: For the 10-24 age range, rates of both suicide and homicide are lowest for 10-14, intermediate for 15-19 and highest for 20-24. The patterns differed between age groups. For children and adolescents aged 10-14, suicide rates nearly tripled from 2007 to 2017 whereas homicide rates gradually declined over the period. For 15-19 and 20-24, both suicide and homicide rates increased, with the increase beginning earlier for the suicide rates.
Q: Is this the first time you have published a report on this topic?
SC: We have published some similar reports recently, but this is the first one which focuses on these two causes of death for this age range. Suicide and homicide are often referred to as the two major components of violent death.
Q: Was there a specific finding in your report that surprised you?
SC: That both suicide and homicide have increased recently for 15-19 and 20-24 year olds. Homicide has only been increasing since 2014, but this is after years of decline whereas suicide began to increase sooner.
Q: Why do you think suicide and homicide death rates have risen?
SC: That is for others in the prevention and research community to answer. However, other studies have shown that some of the risk factors for suicide and homicide have increased. In particular, depression and other mental health disorders have been shown to be increasing in youth.
Questions for Lead Author Sally Curtin, Health Statistician, of “Mortality Among Adults Aged 25 and Over by Marital Status: United States, 2010–2017.”
Q: This study seems to confirm what other research has concluded, that married people tend to live longer. Would that be a correct assumption?
SC: Yes, many studies have found that married people have better health and live longer than unmarried people. In this report, we are presenting age-adjusted death rates which clearly show that the rates are lower for married than never-married, divorced or widowed adults. In addition, the age-adjusted death rate for married adults declined 7% over the period, the largest decline of any group.
Q: There are a lot of jokes and other narratives in pop culture that married life is far from ideal, and yet these results seem to at least suggest that there is one major positive outcome related to the institution. Do you know why that is?
SC: There has been much research over the years on the pathways through which marriage might work to result in better health outcomes. In particular, researchers have explored the question of whether marriage is selective for good health or whether the institution itself is protective of health. By selective, I mean that people who are healthier, or who have correlates of better health (e.g. more education, higher income), are more likely to marry. This is true for the most part. However, there has also been research that has shown that marriage is protective of health, particularly for men, because married people are more likely to have health insurance, and a spouse may encourage better lifestyle and health habits as well as assist in healthcare related activities (scheduling doctor’s appointments, etc…). For example, a 2014 NCHS report found that among men with health insurance, those who were married were more likely than their unmarried counterparts (including those who were cohabiting) to seek preventive health services.
Q: Was this the first time you studied this topic?
SC: NCHS publishes age-adjusted death rates by marital status every year in their final death report. However, this is the first specialized report on this topic in almost 50 years.
Q: Was there anything in the findings that were surprising?
SC: I think it was the fact that even though age-adjusted death rates are much lower for married adults, these rates declined 7% between 2010 and 2017. This was the greatest decline of all groups–rates for never married persons declined by 2%, rates for divorced persons remained stable, and rates for widowed persons actually increased, by 6%.
Q: The patterns seem pretty consistent among men and women. Was there anything that you found between the genders that was inconsistent?
SC: Both men and women had 7% declines in the age-adjusted death rate for married persons. However, for men, the other groups remained relatively stable from 2010 to 2017. For women, those who were divorced had stable death rates but never-married women had a decline of 3% while widowed women had a 6% increase.
Q: Anything else you’d like to add?
SC: Just that the next step is to look at these findings by selected causes of death to determine whether the lower death rates for married adults are broad across most of the leading causes or contained to a few specific causes.
Fact or Fiction: Are death rates for married people in the U.S. lower than the rates for unmarried people?October 10, 2019
Fact or Fiction: Was the death rate from firearm deaths in 2017 the highest rate recorded in the U.S. since 1968?October 1, 2019
Source: National Vital Statistics System, 1968-2017, CDC WONDER