As deadly drug overdoses continue to claim the lives of thousands of vulnerable Americans each year, there is growing evidence across the United States that male mortality rates are high not only from opioids but also from methamphetamine and cocaine. .
The highly lethal synthetic opioid fentanyl is the leading cause of increased drug overdose deaths, with nearly 107,000 deaths in 2021.according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Fentanyl is also increasingly contaminating the illicit supply of cocaine in the United States as the drugs are manufactured and stored together, experts say.
The researchers said they found a “regular” and “large” pattern across all 50 states and Washington, D.C., showing that men were at least twice as likely to die from drug use as women.
“We were very surprised to find that even though the rates of overdose, which may be related to poverty and stressors, vary greatly across states, there are still very clear gender differences within states. ‘, said Eduardo Butermann, a professor at the National University. Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City and lead author of the report.
How many people have died from drug use?
Researchers used CDC data on drug overdose deaths to find the following mortality rates for various substances:
- Synthetic opioids (such as fentanyl): 29.0 men and 11.1 women died per 100,000 population
- heroin: 5.5 men and 2.0 women die per 100,000 population
- Psychostimulants (such as methamphetamine): 13.0 males and 5.6 females die per 100,000 population
- cocaine: 10.6 men and 4.2 women died per 100,000 population
Why are men more likely to die from drug overdoses?
There are still many unanswered questions about why men are more likely to die from drug use than women, the report’s authors said.
“Both men and women are exposed to the modern fentanyl-tainted drug supply, but something is causing a significant increase in male mortality,” said Nora Volkow, one of the study’s authors and director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. is getting higher,” he said. told News-Medical.Net.
In general, men are more likely than women to use the drug in the first place, so they are more likely to die from an overdose, he said. Alex Krallan epidemiologist at the Research Triangle Institute in North Carolina, with a focus on drug use.
“Men are more likely to use these drugs than women,” Krall said. “Therefore, they are more likely to have complications from drug use, including overdoses.”
Figuring out why men are more likely to use drugs in the first place is “very complicated,” Krall said. However, there is evidence that:
- Instead of seeking therapy or medical care, men may be more likely to use drugs to alleviate emotional distress and mental health problems, Krall said.
- Dangerous drug use is most common after getting out of prison, Krall said. Because more men, especially black men, are incarcerated than women, they are more likely to use drugs after their release, he said.
Butermann said more men are dying from drug use than simply because of the biological differences between men and women.
“The other side is also very important,” he said. “Women are still dying from this disease. It’s important to find the best way to take care of people.”
Men are more likely to die from meth and cocaine use
The study also looked at different age groups, from 15 to 74 years old, and found that young and older men all had much higher mortality from methamphetamine and cocaine use than women. bottom. Younger men were less likely to have a heart attack or stroke from cocaine or stimulant use, according to age.
The report said differences between women and men were “an important area of research” and that more research could lead to better “prevention and interventions to reduce risk” around drug overdose deaths. It has said.