People 25 to 44 years old are hardest hit by the opioid overdose epidemic that has left thousands dead in Massachusetts, according to new data from the state Department of Public Health.
On Wednesday, the state released for the first time a demographic portrait of the still-growing health crisis, and that report found certain groups bear a disproportionate burden.
The numbers show that overdose deaths in the first nine months of 2015 remained high — higher than the same period the year before, despite policy-makers’ focus on combating heroin and prescription painkiller abuse.
Fifty-seven percent of those who died of unintentional overdoses were 25 to 44 years old, even though this age group accounted for only 4 percent of deaths from all causes during that period. Ten percent of overdose deaths were among those younger than 25, while only 1.5 percent of all deaths were among people that young.
Hispanic people are also disproportionately affected. Nine percent of people who died of overdoses were Hispanic, compared with 3 percent of those who died from all causes.
Still, most of those who died from unintentional overdoses — 83 percent — were white non-Hispanic people.
And men were substantially more likely to succumb from powerful drugs: Three-quarters of those who died of unintentional opioid overdoses were men.
Source: BostonGlobe.com – 1/21/16
See related article from the New York Times: Drug Overdoses Propel Rise in Mortality Rates of Young Whites available at: