Sep 26, 2022 - Health

Women were more likely to overdose during COVID pandemic

Overdoses per 100k users of medical services,&nbsp2021
Data: FAIR Health; Map: Erin Davis/Axios Visuals

While men were far likelier to be diagnosed with a substance use disorder during the pandemic, women were more likely to overdose, according to a new FAIR Health analysis provided to Axios.

Why it matters: The study of private insurance claims shows the rising burden of substance use across the U.S.

The percentage of patients with a substance use disorder diagnosis decreased from 3.5% of all patients in 2019 before the pandemic to 3.4% in 2021.

Yes, but: The number of patients with an overdose diagnosis increased 4.3%.

  • From 2019 to 2021, 42 states saw an increase in the proportion of patients with opioid and opioid-like drug overdoses compared to the total number of patients using medical services, ranging from 148.4% in Pennsylvania to 0.7% in Minnesota.
  • New Mexico and Oklahoma had the highest proportion of patients with an overdose diagnosis over that period.
  • Between 2016 and 2021, about 62% of substance use disorder diagnoses were among males. 
  • In that same period, about 60% of overdose diagnoses were among females.
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