Four in 10 U.S. Adults Say They Know Someone Who Died From Drug Overdose

One-third of those say their lives were disrupted by the overdose death
Four in 10 U.S. Adults Say They Know Someone Who Died From Drug Overdose
Adobe Stock
Medically Reviewed By:
Mark Arredondo, M.D.

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 28, 2024 (HealthDay News) -- More than four in 10 U.S. adults personally know at least one person who died by drug overdose, according to an editorial published in the March issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

Alison Athey, Ph.D., from the RAND Corporation in Washington, D.C., and colleagues added questions to wave 14 of the RAND American Life Panel survey to explore the prevalence of overdose loss and the experiences of those left behind by fatal drug overdoses. The analysis included 2,072 respondents in February and March 2023.

The researchers found that 42.4 percent of respondents reported personally knowing at least one person who died by overdose. An estimated 125 million American adults have experienced overdose loss. Among U.S. adults who reported ever knowing someone who died by overdose, the mean number of overdose losses was 2.88. Lifetime exposure to an overdose death was more common among women, married participants, U.S.-born participants, and those who lived in urban settings. Of those reporting lifetime exposure to overdose loss, approximately one in three reported that the experience disrupted their lives, translating to disruption for approximately 40 million American adults (13 percent of the U.S. adult population).

"The experiences and needs of millions of overdose loss survivors have been largely overlooked in the clinical and public health response to the overdose crisis," the authors write.

Abstract/Full Text (subscription or payment may be required)

Related Stories

No stories found.