As Channel 5 revealed
last night, 14 people have died from drug overdoses in Cuyahoga County in the last week and half of these deaths were people 60 and over.
The elderly are more likely to have severe physical illnesses and pains, and are therefore more likely to be prescribed opioids to manage their suffering.
A recent analysis from Stanford University
found that seniors covered by Medicare have “among the highest and most rapidly growing prevalence of opioid use disorder.” The report found that more than six out of every 1,000 Medicare patients are diagnosed with an opioid disorder, compared to one of every 1,000 patients covered by commercial insurance plans.
Many seniors are obtaining their opioids by legal means, but because the opioid crisis has caused a crackdown on the pill prescriptions, it's pushing more and more addicts to find their relief by the use of street drugs.
Education on the dangers of opioids have been increasing across the state, but the efforts have been targeting younger people
, potentially leaving senior citizens, a demographic with a weaker possibility of withstanding opioids, uneducated and ill-informed about the pain killers they're putting into their bodies.
Data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health suggests opioid misuse is increasing among older adults and the epidemic is nearly doubling among Americans over the age of 50.
The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner told Channel 5 that the death location of these victims is evenly split between the west and east sides of the city.
If you or anyone you know is actively using or recovering from an opioid addiction, contact Project DAWN for information at 216-778-5677.
Eligible program participants are given free Naloxone kits – the opioid reversing antidote.
Additionally, the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services (ADAMHS) Board of Cuyahoga County provides a 24-hour crisis hotline at 216-623-6888.