CDC: Drug overdose deaths among adolescents highest for opioids

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

"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.

The CDC found that the death rate among people between the ages of 15 and 19, increased by 15 percent in 2015, after falling steadily for seven years. She said the rise in deaths can be attributed to stronger and more lethal drugs. That's only 1.4 percent of the more than 52,000 people who died from overdoses, almost two-thirds of which are from opioids.

To their surprise, CDC researchers found that teen overdose deaths actually fell after 2008, and dropped as low as about 3 per 100,000 during 2012 through 2014.

Between 1999 and 2015, the drug overdose death rate for males was consistently higher than the rate for females. In 2015, 772 drug overdose deaths were reported for the 15- to 19-year-old age group. It then remained stable until 2011, declined from then until 2014 but increased again in 2015 to 2.4 out of every 100,000 people. Experts are providing various reasons for the increase in teenage death rate as a result of drug overdose. Opioid deaths among adults are a major cause of worry, and now teen deaths are also on a rise. However, in 2015, the boys' rate rose to 4.6 from four in the previous year.

The 2016 Monitoring the Future survey showed a continuing decline in the use of illicit substances - marijuana, alcohol and tobacco - and misuse of prescription drugs among teens.

"These trends fit into the overall picture: Overdose of opioid pills is the bigger problem among middle age and older age groups, while heroin and heroin contaminated by fentanyl are a huge problem among younger people", said Dr. Daniel Ciccarone, a professor at the University of California, San Francisco, who studies drug use.

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Levounis pointed out that, "The vast majority of adolescent deaths from opioids are due to unintentional overdose".

While overdose deaths among boys were still falling in 2013, overdose deaths among teen girls started to climb.

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

Ciccarone said the federal government should follow the recommendations of the White House's Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis.

A preliminary report from the task force last month asked Trump to declare a state of emergency to dedicate more resources to the epidemic.

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