According to the latest figures released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics, the rate of overdose deaths involving teens aged 15 to 19 in the United States rose by 19 percent from 2014 to 2015. In 2014, there were around 3.1 deaths per 100,000 teens, however, the same increased to 3.7 deaths per 100,000 teens in 2015. The data also shows that the drugs responsible for the deaths were mainly opioids, especially prescribed painkillers like oxycodone and illicit drugs like heroin and fentanyl.
The CDC reports that most of the drug overdose deaths were unintentional. According to the data, teen overdose deaths due to synthetic opioids have increased sevenfold from 0.1 per 100,000 in 2002 to 0.7 per 100,000 in 2015. The rate of deaths due to heroin for the same age group was one in 100,000 teens in 2015, as against 0.3 for every 100,000 in 1999. Also, 772 teens aged 15 to 19 died due to drug overdose in 2015.
The data of American teens’ mortality rates attributed to opioids and drug abuse came at the heels of President Donald Trump declaring a national emergency to deal with the epidemic that the country faces. He also highlighted that one of the key strategies to combat the epidemic is to reach out to the younger people.
Drug overdose taking more lives than initially believed
A new study conducted by researchers at the University of Virginia suggests that the numbers of deaths from heroin and opioid overdoses have been dramatically underreported. Experts preparing the report, published online in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine in August 2017, based it on details of thousands of death certificates between 2008 and 2014. They inferred the mortality rates were 24 percent more for prescription medicines and 22 percent higher for heroin when compared with details reported previously.
“Opioid mortality rate changes were considerably understated in Pennsylvania, Indiana, New Jersey and Arizona. Increases in heroin death rates were understated in most states, and by large amounts in Pennsylvania, Indiana, New Jersey, Louisiana and Alabama,” the study said. “This occurs when no specific drug is identified on the death certificates,” said Christopher Ruhm, the study author.
In December last year, the CDC had released figures showing that overdose deaths in the U.S. nearly tripled between 1999 and 2014. Of about 47,000 drug overdose deaths in 2014, more than 28,600 cases involved opioids. Moreover, around 52,404 people had succumbed to drug overdoses in 2015, with more than 60 percent dying from opioid drugs, including prescription painkillers, and heroin.
Seeking recovery from addiction
A promising and efficient solution to America’s drug problem is possible only after federal agencies, health care workers and medical professionals work in tandem to prepare accurate statistics of overdose cases. Availability of reliable and canonical data is the first step toward developing effective policies aimed at tackling the drug epidemic. Notably, drug addiction can be treated with timely medical intervention. If a person is grappling with addiction to opioids or any other harmful drug, he/she should immediately seek professional help from a reputed drug treatment center. Remember that substance use disorders can have life-threatening consequences, if left untreated.
As a leading behavioral health care center, Sovereign Health understands the plight of a teenager grappling with issues of drug addiction. Our Rancho San Diego facility has an inbuilt teen drug rehab containing a host of necessary treatment procedures and behavioral therapies for patients. For more information about drug rehab centers for teens, call our 24/7 helpline number. You may chat online with one of our representatives for expert advice about recovery from teen drug abuse in your vicinity.