Over the past 15 years, death rates among white women in the United States have surged. New research blames prescription painkillers. - The Washington Post

9 Apr 2015

Between 1999 and 2011, death rates climbed substantially among only white women, ages 15 to 54. A study from the Urban Institute, attributed half the rise to “accidental poisoning,” or drug overdoses.

Painkillers/opioids have become increasingly accessible over the past two decades. Prescriptions have increased tenfold since 1990, according to a recent Harvard Medical School report, whilst medical providers noted 259 million prescriptions in 2012, “enough for every American adult to have a bottle of pills,” as estimated by the CDC.


Only 3.3 per 100,000 white women died from opioid-related complications in 1999, according to the Urban Institute report. That number surged to 15.9 per 100,000 white women in 2011.

 Future research will examine Hispanic and other racial populations.


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