Rate Of Young White Females Overdosing Increasing In PA

Mar 11, 2016

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The rate of young, white females dying from drug overdoses in Pennsylvania is increasing faster than other demographics, according to a new report from the University of Pittsburgh.

Pitt researchers found fatal drug overdoses in Pennsylvania have increased 14-fold in the last 35 years, and deaths for young white females are climbing especially fast.

The paper's co-author, Jeanine Buchanich, said she isn’t entirely sure why. It isn’t just about the quantity of different drugs, she said, but how they’re using them.

“Women seem to be more prone to 'telescoping,' which is when they accelerate an addiction more quickly, and so they are more likely to overdose," Buchanich said. 

Buchanich said something similar is happening with white men – their peak mortality age is much younger than black men.

Data show fatal overdose rates are concentrated in urban counties, but are increasing in rural and suburban counties, too. 

The paper breaks down overdoses by age, sex and race.