According to a study published recently, there has been a sharp rise in the rate of death for overdoses by teens and young adults because of the United State-wide opioid epidemic.
The study published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs claimed that between 2006 and 2015, there was a 19.75 per cent increase in the rate of deaths in people aged 15 to 24 because of drug overdoses. Millennial and Gen Z mortality data from the National Center for Health Statistics were analysed by researchers at the nonprofit Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation in Maryland.
Drug poisoning caused the death of 36,422 adolescents and young adults in the United States during the study period. The researcher said that over does of opioids, prescription and illicit drugs like heroin, were the causes of the deaths in most of the cases. Over the same study period, there was an average increase of 4.8 per cent in the death rates from opioid annually while the rate of increase was 15.4 per cent a year between 2013 and 2015.
“The surge in drug poisoning deaths among adolescents and young adults reflects the ease of access to pharmaceutical drugs, especially prescription opioids and later transition to more potent opioids,” said Dr. Bina Ali, the lead author of the study.
The level of impact of the crisis on American families is highlighted by the new data. It also empowers U.S. prosecutors top a greater extent in their legal cases against the companies and health-care professionals who have been accused of fueling the epidemic. According to estimates, about 130 Americans are killed because of it every day.
In what is being mentioned as the first criminal charges being brought against an executive of a drug company to prevent the spread of the opioid epidemic, a former CEO of one of the nation’s largest drug distributors, – Rochester Drug Cooperative, was indicted by prosecutors on Tuesday. A $20 million settlement was reached with the company by the federal government over its alleged role in the crisis.
In separate incidents, indictment for illegally prescribing more than 32 million pain pills was brought against 60 doctors, pharmacists and other licensed medical professionals across five states in the US by federal prosecutors last week.
Prescription drugs, such as Vicodin or OxyContin, which is considered to be a highly addictive narcotic manufactured by Purdue Pharma, are apparently the typical sources of young people getting introduced to opioids, researchers of the study said. it noted that the drugs were often misused by the young adults with the intention to “relieve pain, relax, feel good, or get high.”
With a death rate of 11.9 per cent and 10 deaths in 100,000 people, drug overdoses were highest among whites and Native Americans respectively, the research also found. In comparison, the death rate was 2.6 deaths per 100,000 people in the case of African Americans and 4 deaths per 100,000 people for Hispanics.
New York was identified as the city with the highest increase in the drug overdose death rate.
(Adapted from CNBC.com)