Drug Overdose: Years of Potential Life Lost

New York Finger Lakes Region

Opioids are the primary cause of drug overdose mortality. The charts below show premature mortality rates from opioid and other drug overdoses across different populations. Overdoses and opioids in particular have the largest YPLL rates in urban and low SES areas. The rates are also much higher for men than women. While African-Americans have lower rates of premature mortality from opioids, they have a higher rate from other drugs. Note that the YPLL rate for African-Americans is lower than the white or Latino rates, despite a higher mortality rate shown above. This is because blacks dying from overdoses tend to be significantly older than the other groups, which is shown in additional data later in this section.


Methodology note: The SES index ranking was developed by Common Ground Health and calculated using a variety of socioeconomic indicators from the American Community Survey including average income, poverty rates, education levels, housing value, and homeownership. Each ZIP code is assigned a socioeconomic (SES) index ranking from 1 to 5. The lower SES ZIP codes tend to have lower average income, higher poverty rates, lower prevalence of college degrees, etc.

Methodology note: Years of potential life lost (YPLL) is a widely used measure to assess the rate of premature mortality. YPLL places a larger weight on the deaths of younger people, in contrast with overall mortality statistics which are dominated by deaths of the elderly. The YPLL rates in Common Ground Health analyses are derived using 75 years as the baseline. A death at age 65 has YPLL of 10, where as a death at age 35 has a YPLL of 40. The rates are calculated per 100,000 population and are age-sex adjusted to account for differences in population distribution.

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