A recent study found that individuals with opioid use disorders who received medical services in a university health system were 10 times more likely to die than those without a substance use disorder or those who received treatment in a specialized clinic.
“Given that substance use disorders are not routinely screened for in primary care, it is likely that late identification of opioid use disorder and lack of addiction treatment could contribute to high rates of serious health conditions and death,” said Yih-Ing Hser, Ph.D., lead researcher and a instructor of behavioral sciences and psychiatry at UCLA.
Hser’s team conducted the study in hopes to reduce the death rate of those who receive medical treatment for opioid addiction at a large general health care system.
The study included 2,576 participants, aged 18 to 64, who had been diagnosed with opioid use disorder. The researchers analyzed health reports and a death index system from 2006 to 2014 regarding the rates, causes, and associated risk factors among individuals who received medical care in a university health care system for opioid use disorder or no treatment at all.
The subjects participated for an average of four years, and there were 465 deaths by the study’s conclusion. The participants who died were older at the time of their first diagnosis and had higher rates of co-occurring health complications, such as cancer, liver disease, hepatitis C, alongside substance use disorders related to cocaine and alcohol.
Drug use disorders and overdoses were responsible for almost 20 percent of the deaths, cardiovascular disease was responsible for 17.4 percent, cancer accounted for 16.8 percent and infectious disease for 13.5 percent.
Researchers found that there were two times as many deaths in addicts treated in… (continue reading)