A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) concludes that while the opioid epidemic has profoundly impacted all parts of the population over the past nearly 20 years, drug overdose rates have dramatically multiplied amongst one group of people in particular. The findings have garnered wide news coverage as “unexpected.”
Why? Because the group in question is middle-aged women.
This may seem like surprising news, but it isn’t. A deeper look shows that this group has long been vulnerable to high rates of overdoses, a fact that has been well documented for years. For example, a study several years ago by Geisinger Health System concluded that white, middle-aged women were most at risk of prescription opioid overdose. If you want to go back further, we can even time travel to the late 1800s, when women made up 60 percent of the population addicted to opium.
There's a very long history here, which we’ll get to in a minute.Read More