Teen overdose deaths on the rise — CDC

Montpelier Vt. A report found drug overdose deaths among U.S. teens inched up in 2015 after years of decline. The report was released on Wednesday August 16

Drug overdose US: Teenage deaths rise again, newer drugs could be root cause

Drug overdose rates were higher for males than females, and the majority of overdoses were unintentional. That represents just 1.4% of the 52,404 people who died of drug overdoses that same year. Most of the deaths were accidental and were mainly caused by heroin, researchers found. The number of deaths in 2014 was 658. In 2015, 772 drug overdose deaths were reported for the 15- to 19-year-old age group. Interestingly, the decline in death rate was mainly driven by boys, accounting for two-thirds of overdose deaths in teens. A 40-year-running, nationally representative survey called Monitoring the Future recently recorded the lowest rates of drug, alcohol and tobacco use among middle and high school students since the 1990s.

According to the National Survey on Drug Abuse and Health, almost half of Americans, or an estimated 119 million, use pain relievers, tranquilizers, sedatives or stimulants.

The rate of opioid drug overdose deaths among older teenagers in the United States has taken a turn for the worse, a new federal report finds. But the larger trends are ominous.

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A local drug counselor said the rise in teen overdose deaths could be linked to the increase in more lethal drugs - like fentanyl and carfentanyl which dealers often mix with substances like heroin and even marijuana. "Then fentanyl came along in 2014, making the heroin environment deadlier", said Ciccarone, who was not involved with the study.

"More than one-fifth of drug overdose deaths among female adolescents aged 15-19 were suicide compared with 8.7 percent for males", it said. Deaths among "young women, we have known for a long time, happen for different reasons and present differently". Girls' rate increased from 2.2 to 2.7. A parallel increase of 15% from 2014 to 2015 was recorded among boys. "What that means is that a small mistake in dosing can kill you".

"Address the crisis aggressively through prevention and treatment", Ciccarone said.

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"I would have expected more of them to be related to prescription drugs which have been - especially a number of years ago - the major killer in this category", said Dr. Compton. He also recalled First Lady Nancy Reagan's 1980s-era "Just Say No" to drugs slogan.

Psychostimulants with abuse potential increased from 0.1 per 100,000 in 1999 to 0.4 per 100,000 in 2015. "If they don't start, they won't have a problem".

Last week, President Trump declared the opioid epidemic a national emergency responsible for the deaths of more than a half-million people since 2000.

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