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40% Of Americans Knew A Fatal Overdose Victim, Study Finds

More than 4 in 10 Americans know someone who has died of an overdose, and an estimated 13% of the population have had their lives disrupted, reports a study in the American Journal of Public Health. With more than 100,000 people dying from overdoses a year, the study suggests that the epidemic's reach has been underestimated, reports Axios. As the drug epidemic has become deadlier, it has grown from a public health issue to a divisive political topicm both because of its emotional resonance with voters and because of the controversial nature of solutions, like expanded access to methadone treatment.

Cities are grappling with how to reduce the number and impact of overdose deaths, and some of "blue" areas are rethinking their harm reduction and compassion-first approaches. More than 125 million Americans know at least one person who has fatally overdosed, the RAND-led study estimates. More than 40 million adults have had their lives disrupted by overdose loss, and an estimated 12.5 million are still feeling a "significant or devastating effect." Exposure to overdose death was more common among women, married people U.S.-born respondents and those who live in urban areas rather than rural ones. Most who reported knowing someone who died of an overdose said they actually knew multiple people who died fromdrugs. Future research should look at overdose death "contagion," the authors say.


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