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Friday, January 30, 2015

Opioid Users Victims of Homicide

Illicit drug use often takes people to the darker corners of shady underworlds. Places where hustle and crime are a part of everyday life. This is especially true for drug users with little means who have a habit to maintain. New research suggests that older opioid users are 27 times more likely to become a victim of homicide than the general population, Science Daily reports.

The University of Manchester study of almost 200,000 opioid addicts was the largest study of opioid users ever undertaken. Their findings come from data of 198,247 people who had been involved in drug treatment or the criminal justice system between 2005 and 2009. During that time period there were 3,974 deaths.

The researchers found that opioid users were six times more likely to die prematurely than people in the general population, with one in ten deaths being due to suicide, according to the article. More than four times the rate in the general population. Opioid users in the 45-64 age-group were found to be 27 times more likely to be a victim of homicide than the general population.

The study found that the most common cause of death was overdose, the article points out.

"Crucially, opioid users need to hear this new information on overdose, to emphasise that their risk of overdosing increases as they get older,” says study leader, Dr Tim Millar from the University's Centre for Mental Health and Risk."This group is also one of the most vulnerable to homicide -- at a rate which is staggeringly higher than in the general population. It is apparent that older users of opioids are one of the most vulnerable groups in society, yet most treatment programmes don't differentiate by age."

Other major causes of death among opioid users included:
  • Circulatory Diseases
  • Respiratory Diseases
  • Liver Diseases
The findings were published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

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