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Senate report finds staggering increase in overdose deaths among senior citizens

The report, “The Silent Epidemic: Fentanyl and Older Americans," found drug overdose deaths among seniors has quadrupled.
Posted at 4:28 PM, Jan 02, 2024

A new report from the U.S. Senate is sounding the alarm on the shocking rise in overdose deaths among senior citizens.

Sen. Mike Braun, (R-IN), the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Aging, authored the report, “The Silent Epidemic: Fentanyl and Older Americans.”

“Among Americans 65 and older, overdose deaths quadruples across the last two decades, and there’s increasing evidence that synthetic drugs like fentanyl are adding to these fatalities,” the report says.

Soon after the report was released, the Aging committee held a hearing on the subject, where they heard from experts who say the trend has become troublesome.

“Fentanyl and other drugs have lowered American life expectancy. They increasingly kill older Americans while limiting younger Americans ability to grow old,” Braun said in a committee hearing.

Locally, doctors have told Fox 4 about the sudden increase in substance abuse among the elderly.

“The two greatest substances that are in highest use, number 1 is alcohol. Opioids are the second,” Dr. Denise Torres, an addictions specialist with Lee Health, told Fox 4 in September.

Torres said there’s been a dramatic rise in substance abuse locally since the COVID-19 pandemic began and Hurricane Ian hit southwest Florida.