Poorer individuals more likely to die of opioid-related causes than rich in Canada

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In Canada, the poorest residents were 3.8 times more likely to die of opioid-related causes than the country’s richest residents, a study published in Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention in Canada showed.

Wasem Alsabbagh, PhD, assistant professor in the school of pharmacy at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, and colleagues sought to examine the connection between Canadian residents’ socioeconomic status and opioid incidents. The researchers used three national databases and census data to determine the correlation between income levels and opioid -related health issues between 2000 and 2017.

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Alsabbagh and colleagues reported average annual rates on 19,560 deaths, 82,125 hospitalizations and 71,055 ED visits. Annual rates per million were reported for death, hospitalizations and ED visits, among income groups.

The poorest residents were 3.8 times (95% CI, 3.6-4) more likely to die of opioid-related causes than the richest, the researchers found. Additionally, the poorest residents were 4.3 times (95% CI, 4.2-4.4) more likely to be hospitalized for opioid-related cases than the richest residents, and 4.9 times (95% CI, 4.8-5.1) more likely to be admitted to the ED.

“Often, we see low socioeconomic status in concentrated geographic areas where there is poorer access to resources,” Alsabbagh said in a released statement. “In addition, psychosocial factors, such as feeling marginalized or enduring discrimination and social isolation, can have an effect . By drawing the link between low socioeconomic status and opioid harm, we can design policies that more appropriately serve the needs of our communities.”

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