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Am J Public Health. 1982 Jul;72(7):703-9.

Addict death rates during a four-year posttreatment follow-up.


Mortality rates were examined among 3,324 Black and White daily opioid drug users for a four-year period following treatment in community-based agencies located across the United States. A total of 179 of these addicts died during this follow-up period, yielding a death rate of 15.2 per 1,000 person-years at risk. When adjusted for age, addict death rates were found to be three to 14 times higher than those in the general US population. Life table analysis was also used to examine these rates in relation to client demographic, background, and treatment variables obtained prospectively, both prior to and during treatment. Age, alcohol use, and criminal history were positively associated with higher death rates. With regard to causes of death, age proved to be the only significant predictor; older addicts (over 30) had the highest percentages of deaths due to "natural" causes, while over three-fourths of the deaths among younger addicts were drug related or involved violence.

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