Unintentional drug overdose deaths involving cocaine among middle-aged and older adults in New York City.Drug Alcohol Depend. 2019 05 01; 198:121-125.DA
Cocaine is commonly involved in unintentional drug poisoning (overdose) deaths, accounting for 46% of overdose deaths in New York City (NYC) in 2016. However, little research exists regarding cocaine use by middle-aged and older adults, who are more likely than younger individuals to have underlying cardiovascular disease (CVD) and therefore, may be at increased risk for the adverse health consequences of cocaine.
We conducted a retrospective analysis of unintentional drug overdose deaths of middle-aged and older NYC residents age 45-84 from 2000 to 2016 using two linked sources, NYC death certificates and toxicology results from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.
From 2000 to 2016, there were 6061 unintentional drug overdose deaths among New Yorkers age 45-84. Of those, cocaine was involved in 53% (n = 3183). Co-occurring opioid involvement (fentanyl, heroin, methadone, or opioid analgesics) among deaths involving cocaine was common (58%). Compared to decedents of non-cocaine involved overdose, decedents of cocaine-involved overdose were more likely to be male and non-Latino Black. Multivariable analysis showed that adults age 45-54 (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 1.34, 95% 1.05, 1.70), males (AOR = 1.30, 95% CI 1.15, 1.46), Bronx residence (AOR = 1.29, 95% CI 1.08, 1.54), and non-Latino black race/ethnicity (AOR = 2.37, 95% CI 2.07, 2.72) were independently associated with cocaine-involved overdose.
Characteristics of decedents of cocaine-involved overdose overlap with populations with high CVD burden in NYC. Studies are needed to better understand the risks of cocaine among adults with underlying CVD.