Opioids Affecting Older South Dakotans More Than Youth
Earlier this month, President Trump stated that the nation should counter the opioid epidemic by telling the youth that opipoids are “no good, really bad for you in every way.” However, according to the South Dakota Department of Health, opioids seem to be affecting older adults more often than youth.
Between 2004-2015, adults between the ages of 40 and 64 experienced the highest number of opioid-related poisoning cases, with over 250 incidents. The second highest age range, adults aged 25-39, had more than 150 incidents reported. Those aged 15 to 24 had around 60 reported opioid-related poisoning incidents.
The South Dakota Department of Health also recorded the frequency of opioid-related deaths between 2006-2015, with adults aged 35-44 experiencing the highest number of deaths: nearly 140. In contrast, youths aged 14-24 had around 40 reported deaths (see chart below).
About 80% of opioid-related cases involved Caucasians; 57% of these cases are women. According to Minnehaha County Medical Director Dr. Jeff Luther, statewide numbers are consistent with what he sees in his county. The Attorney General’s office sponsored a legislation in 2015 enabling all first-responders to carry naloxone, with reverses the effects of a drug overdose. Just last month, Luther said that a deputy from the county sheriff’s office used naloxone on a woman in her late 40s.
People all over the country are being affected by the nation’s opioid epidemic. “There are a lot of older Americans, in general, that are having issues with these opioid overdoses,” said Luther.
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