People Who Suffer From Hearing Loss Before 50 More Likely to Misuse Opioids
For those whose health care providers know of their hearing loss, McKee suspects that the higher rate of prescription opioid use disorder may stem from a higher rate of being placed on controlled substances to quickly address pain issues
People below 50 years who suffer from hearing loss are more likely to misuse opioids, alcohol and other drugs than their peers who have no such disorder, say researchers.
The findings showed adults under 35 years with a hearing loss were 2.5 times more likely to have a prescription opioid use disorder.
In addition, those between age 35 years and 49 years who had hearing loss were nearly twice as likely as their hearing peers to have disorders related to both prescription opioids and alcohol, said the study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
For the study, the team included 86,186 adults.
“Hearing loss is connected with a variety of health problems, including mental and physical health, which may place these individuals at risk for pain disorders. Also, the marginalising effects of hearing loss, such as social isolation, may be creating higher rates of substance use disorders too,” said Michael McKee from University of Michigan in the US.
For those whose health care providers know of their hearing loss, McKee suspects that the higher rate of prescription opioid use disorder may stem from a higher rate of being placed on controlled substances to quickly address pain issues, perhaps because of communication barriers. (IANS)
Fatal drug overdoses in the U.S. declined by 5.1 percent in 2018, according to preliminary official data released Wednesday, the first drop in two decades. The trend was driven by a steep decline in deaths linked to prescription painkillers.
“The latest provisional data on overdose deaths show that America’s united efforts to curb opioid use disorder and addiction are working,” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said, though he cautioned the epidemic would not be stopped overnight.
The total number of estimated deaths dropped to 68,557 in 2018 against 72,224 the year before, according to the figures released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
But that number is still far higher than the 16,849 overdose deaths in 1999, a figure that rose every year until 2017, with a particularly sharp increase seen from 2014 to 2017.
Deaths attributed to natural and semisynthetic opioids, such as morphine, codeine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, hydromorphone and oxymorphone, which are prescribed as painkillers, saw a drop from 14,926 to 12,757, or 14.5 percent.
That was the steepest drop for any category of drug, though deaths linked to synthetic opioids excluding methadone (drugs like tramadol and fentanyl) continued to rise sharply, while cocaine deaths also increased slightly.
The U.S. opioid epidemic is rooted in decades of overprescription of addictive painkillers. The crisis is responsible for about 400,000 deaths involving prescription or illicit opioids, including high-profile victims such as pop icon Prince and rocker Tom Petty.
But there are some signs the tide is beginning to turn.
In recent months, federal and state authorities have taken on drug giants in court for allegedly bribing doctors to prescribe their medicines or for deceptive marketing that downplayed the risks of addiction.
The overall opioid prescribing rate peaked in 2012 at 81 prescriptions for every 100 Americans and had dropped to 58 by 2017, according to data suggesting that health care providers have become more cautious.
But the amount of opioids prescribed per person is still around three times higher than it was in 1999, according to the CDC, which uses a unit called morphine milligram equivalents (MME) to account for differences in drug type and strength. (VOA)