Dr. Atheendar Venkataramani, lead author of the UPenn study, and a team of researchers spent about a year reviewing a list of all automotive plants that were in operation in the US. UU. Since 2000, and comparing plant closure numbers with deaths from opioid overdoses. .
“Approximately five years after the closure of the plant, the opioid overdose mortality rate, and that is per 100,000 people, was 85 percent higher than one would expect if the plant had not closed,” said Venkataramani .
The researchers also discovered that young non-Hispanic white men were disproportionately affected by death from opioid overdose after the closure of an auto plant.
According to the study’s findings, just over 20 non-Hispanic white men between 18 and 34 died per 100,000 people.
In contrast, almost 13 non-Hispanic white men between the ages of 35 and 64 died per 100,000 people.
The study found no significant increases in deaths among non-Hispanic white women between the ages of 35 and 65, Hispanic white men and women, and non-white men and women.
Despite the study’s findings, Venkataramani explained that the type of research carried out means that researchers cannot conclusively state that closures of automotive plants cause an increase in deaths from opioid overdoses.
“Because ours is not a clinical trial in which exposure is randomized to people and we are working with observational data, that type of research design cannot prove that exposure causes the result,” he said. “Then we can’t say we can try it.”
Venkataramani said his team “performed a series of tests” to see if there was another factor in addition to the closure of automotive plants that drove the trend of increased deaths from opioid overdoses.
… Ours is not a clinical trial where exposure is randomized to people … – Dr. Atheendar Venkataramani, University of Pennsylvania
“We found no evidence of anything else that was happening at the same time,” he said. “By gathering all that circumstantial evidence, we believe this is probably what is happening, but we cannot prove it.”
Although he said it was possible to close plants in Ontario, such as the recent closure in Oshawa, Ontario. and the next closure of the Nemak plant in West Windsor, might suggest that Canadians will see a similar increase in deaths from opioid overdoses, Venkataramani hesitated to suggest that a similar trend will occur over the next few years.
“The only thing in our study is that the plant closures we observed actually occurred between 2002 and 2009, during a time when there was less recognition about the opioid crisis here in the United States,” he said.
“Then, it is possible that today, when we know much more about the opioid crisis, we are more aggressive in detecting substance use disorder, and there is a more responsible prescription, that plant closures do not have the same kind of effect we saw that they did in the last 20 years. “
A total of 48 people died from opioid-related causes in Windsor-Essex throughout 2018.
Preliminary data published by Public Health Ontario shows that 38 of the 152 people who visited Windsor emergency rooms due to opioid poisoning died in the first six months of 2019.