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Substance Use Mortality Varies Widely Across U.S. Counties

HealthDay News
Updated: Mar 13th 2018

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TUESDAY, March 13, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Across U.S. counties there is considerable variation in mortality due to alcohol use disorders, drug use disorders, self-harm, and interpersonal violence, according to a study published in the March 13 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Laura Dwyer-Lindgren, Ph.D., from the University of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues estimated county-level mortality rates from 1980 to 2014 for alcohol use disorders, drug use disorders, self-harm, and interpersonal violence. Data were included for 2,848,768 deaths recorded in the United States.

The researchers found that there was considerable variation among counties in mortality rates from alcohol use disorders, drug use disorders, self-harm, and interpersonal violence. At the national level, there were decreases in mortality rates for alcohol use disorders, self-harm, and interpersonal violence between 1980 and 2014; over the same period, the percentage of counties in which mortality rates increased for these causes was 65.4, 74.6, and 6.6 percent for alcohol use disorders, self-harm, and interpersonal violence, respectively. Between 1980 and 2014, mortality rates from drug use disorders increased nationally and in every county; the relative increase varied from 8.2 to 8,369.7 percent. Between 1980 and 2014 the relative and absolute geographic inequalities in mortality decreased for alcohol use disorders and interpersonal violence but increased for drug use disorders and self-harm.

"These estimates may be useful to inform efforts to target prevention, diagnosis, and treatment to improve health and reduce inequalities," the authors write.

Abstract/Full Text