Overdose Deaths High Among Middle Aged, Too

Rhode Island Public Radio on May 6, 2016

Overdose Deaths High Among Middle Aged, Too

University of Rhode Island Pharmacy professor Jeff Bratberg says the way people in this age group take drugs is also putting them at higher risk.

“They’re taking longer acting opioids, they’re taking doses that at certain thresholds are associated with increased overdose death, they have conditions that put them at higher risk of respiratory depression.

Conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or even the flu can amplify opioids’ ability to depress breathing.

“Some percentage of them are also developing substance use or opioid use disorder from those opioids.”

So why are doctors prescribing so much, in such combinations? Bratberg says it’s how they were trained.