Drug-related deaths are soaring among older Americans, driven by factors including unintentional misuse of prescription medications, self-medicating to treat pain, recreational drug use and social isolation.
In just a decade, the drug-related death rate doubled for those 65 years and older, climbing from 4.2 deaths per 100,000 in 2008-2010, to 8.4 deaths per 100,000 in 2018-2020, according to a report on senior health by United Health Foundation, which is part of UnitedHealth Group, earlier this year. The report drew on statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “It’s a really sad finding,” says Rhonda Randall, D.O., chief medical officer at UnitedHealthcare. “There’s a misperception that seniors may be exempt from this problem.” Read more.