American women are dying of opioid overdoses at a rate nearly five times higher than two decades ago, according to an alarming CDC report.

The report, issued this month by a research team from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, offers fresh evidence the nation’s opioid epidemic is killing people—women in particular—at record rates.

Researchers called the spike in overdose deaths among women “unacceptably high.”

To come up with the numbers, the team looked at overdoses on death certificates in all 50 states and the District of Columbia from 1999 to 2017. They focused on U.S. women between the ages of 30 and 64. Their data included opioid-related overdoses and overdoses from antidepressants, benzodiazepines, heroin and other drugs.

Here are key takeaways:

Opioid-related overdoses have skyrocketed

In 1999, women ages 30 to 64 died of opioid overdoses at a rate of 2.6 deaths per 100,000 women. By 2017, that number climbed by 492 percent, to 15.5 deaths per 100,000 women.

The drugs fueling the sharpest increases in overdose deaths were synthetic opioids (1,643%), heroin (915%), benzodiazepines (830%) and prescription opioids (485%).

Overdose rates are way up

In 1999, 4,314 women died of overdoses, at a rate of 6.7 overdose deaths per 100,000 women. By 2017, 18,110 women died of overdoses, at a rate of 24.3 deaths per 100,000 women.

Older women are overdosing at higher rates than younger women

Overdose deaths among women ages 55 to 64 rose almost 500 percent, the largest increase in any age group. Among women ages 35 to 39 and 45 to 49, overdose deaths rose by roughly 200 percent.

 

Featured photo by Alev Takil on Unsplash