Pandemic Brought Surge in Teen Drug Overdose Deaths – Consumer Health News

TUESDAY, Dec. 20, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Deaths of teenagers from drug overdoses soared beginning in late 2019, and although they look like on the decline, they continue to be a lot larger than in 2019, U.S. well being officers report.Most of those deaths are as a result of illegally made fentanyl blended with different medicine, stated research writer Lauren Tanz, an epidemiologist on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”Adolescent overdose deaths elevated considerably between 2019 and 2021; nevertheless, these deaths are preventable, and overdoses would not have to finish in dying,” Tanz stated. “We all play a job as mother and father, relations, mates and communities to forestall overdoses and save lives.”Using information from the CDC’s State Unintentional Drug Overdose Reporting System, the researchers discovered that overdose deaths amongst 10- to 19-yr-olds started to rise in late 2019. Among 14- to 18-yr-olds, overdose deaths jumped 94% from 2019 to 2020 because the COVID-19 pandemic raged on.Between the second half of 2019 and the second half of 2021, month-to-month overdose deaths amongst teenagers jumped a median 109%, Tanz stated. Those involving illicitly manufactured fentanyl rose 182%. (Median means half of months had larger charges, half decrease.)About 9 in 10 overdose deaths concerned at the very least one opioid, greater than 8 in 10 concerned illicitly manufactured fentanyl, and almost one-quarter concerned counterfeit drugs, in keeping with the report.The availability of fentanyl has pushed the surge in overdose deaths, in keeping with Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse.”Over the previous few years, there was a marked enlargement in the drug provide of illicit fentanyl, an affordable, very potent artificial opioid drug,” she stated. “While individuals could search out fentanyl deliberately in some instances, many individuals are usually not conscious whether or not the drug they’re utilizing incorporates fentanyl, which might put them at excessive danger of overdosing.”The surge of fentanyl in the drug provide is of huge concern, Volkow stated, particularly the contamination of counterfeit drugs made to resemble prescribed drugs equivalent to ADHD (consideration-deficit/hyperactivity dysfunction) medicines, sleep aids or painkillers.”It is totally essential to coach younger those that drugs bought by way of social media, given to somebody by a pal or obtained from an unknown supply could comprise lethal fentanyl,” Volkow stated.Mental sickness additionally contributed to the surge, Tanz stated. More than 40% of teenagers who died from a drug overdose had a historical past of a psychological sickness, equivalent to melancholy or suicidal or self-hurt habits, or had been handled for a psychological well being situation, the researchers discovered.”Our outcomes present that overdose deaths amongst adolescents continued to rise from January to June 2020, coinciding with the pandemic’s onset, and was presumably associated to declining psychological well being,” Tanz stated. Social isolation and lack of entry to high school-primarily based psychological well being providers may additionally have performed a job.Linda Richter, vp for prevention analysis and evaluation on the Partnership to End Addiction, in New York City, stated, “This report ought to be a wake-up name to all households, communities, educators, well being professionals, policymakers and younger individuals themselves that what was an opioid epidemic is now a fentanyl disaster inflicting an unacceptable variety of fully preventable deaths amongst youngsters.” She was not concerned in the research however reviewed the findings.”These deaths are rising as unlawful drug use is usually declining amongst youth, which signifies that it’s not that extra teenagers are utilizing harmful medicine, however relatively that those that are utilizing the medicine are more and more more likely to die from them,” Richter stated.Volkow struck an identical chord. “Drug use amongst adolescents is changing into extra harmful, however not essentially extra widespread,” she stated.Researcher Tanz stated steps to forestall overdose deaths are urgently wanted. These embrace:Promoting prevention.Monitoring danger behaviors, equivalent to poor college efficiency and teenagers associating with others who use medicine; selling constructive social and life abilities; and enhancing nicely-being.Educating teenagers in regards to the risks of illicitly manufactured fentanyl and counterfeit drugs.Educating household and mates on methods to acknowledge warning indicators of drug use.Learning how to reply to an overdose.Training family and friends to make use of naloxone, a drugs used to quickly reverse an opioid overdose, and increasing entry to it.Ensuring entry to efficient remedy for psychological well being issues and substance abuse.The research was printed Dec. 16 in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.More dataThe U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has extra about stopping drug overdoses.SOURCES: Lauren Tanz, ScD, MSPH, epidemiologist, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta; Nora Volkow, MD, director, U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse; Linda Richter, PhD, vp, prevention analysis and evaluation, Partnership to End Addiction, New York City; Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Dec. 16, 2022

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