A comprehensive study conducted by researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) sheds light on the significant vulnerability of men to overdose deaths involving opioid and stimulant drugs in the United States.
The study analyzed extensive data from death records across the country and revealed that men faced a 2-3 times higher rate of overdose mortality compared to women for opioids such as fentanyl and heroin, as well as psychostimulants like methamphetamine and cocaine.
While it has long been recognized that men tend to use drugs more frequently than women, the study suggests that drug use rates alone do not explain the disparity in overdose deaths. The researchers propose that a combination of biological, behavioral, and social factors contributes to the increased mortality risk for men. The findings highlight the need for a deeper understanding of how these factors intersect with drug use patterns and the responses of individuals’ bodies to drugs.
The study’s co-author, Nora Volkow, M.D., the director of NIDA, emphasized the importance of comprehending these factors, stating, “Understanding the biological, behavioral, and social factors that impact drug use and our bodies’ responses is critical to develop tailored tools to protect people from fatal overdose and other harms of drug use.” With drug overdose deaths reaching alarming levels in the US, this research provides valuable insights that can inform the development of targeted interventions to address the gender-specific risks associated with drug misuse and overdose deaths.