The rate of opioid-related death is shooting up among those older than 65, Elizabeth Tracey reports


Opioid related overdose deaths are at record highs, with the rate of such deaths in those aged 65 or older going up rapidly, the most recent federal data find. Eric Strain, a substance use disorders expert at Johns Hopkins, says penetration of this problem into older people has been underway for some time.

Strain: There’s been concern about opiate use in older populations. I’m probably not surprised by hearing that there’s a rate of acceleration of fentanyl deaths in an older population. For older populations there’s the further difficulties of social isolation, the comorbid medical problems that can frequently occur that could increase their risk of respiratory arrest from an opioid overdose. I think we need to be mindful of that.  :28

Strain says one of the biggest problems is fentanyl-laced prescription drug lookalikes. Often purchased online, these drugs look exactly like their brand name counterparts but contain deadly doses of fentanyl. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.