Among the eldest two age groups, however, the percentage of deaths attributable to opioids remained relatively low, but jumped by 745% and 635%, respectively.
Still, the study says opioids were involved in 1.5% of all deaths in 2016, regardless of age group. That means, the researchers write, that the drugs were responsible for more life years lost than high blood pressure, HIV/AIDs and pneumonia, and a tenth of those lost to cancer.
“Premature death from opioid-related causes imposes an enormous and growing public health burden across the United States,” the researchers write. “These trends highlight a need for tailored programs and policies.”