Study Examines Cause of Death Among Homeless Population
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Study Examines Cause of Death Among Homeless Population


WASHINGTON, D.C. – January 30, 2013 – (RealEstateRama) — According to a new report, drug overdose is the leading cause of death among homeless adults. This finding was drawn from a 5 year study of homeless recipients of treatment from the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program (BHCHP) by a group of researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and BHCHP. While the study – Mortality Among Homeless Adults in Boston – was only conducted on the homeless population in Boston, the authors of the report indicate that the results are indicative of a nationwide trend.

The current study is based on data from 2003 to 2008 where drug overdose was responsible for 1/3 of the deaths of adults younger than 45 years. After drug overdose, the second leading cause of death was cancer and the third was heart disease. This study is a follow up study to one done from 1988 to 1993 where AIDS was the number one cause of death.

Although the cause of death has changed over the years, the overall mortality rate among homeless adults has not changed since 1988. The authors put forth recommendations to combat drug related deaths for homeless individuals:

  • Public health initiatives should be created to prevent and reverse drug overdose
  • Social policy measures to end homelessness
  • Behavioral health should be integrated into primary medical care

Click here for the full report in JAMA Internal Medicin

Source: Partnership for Strong Communities

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