Young people in the US collectively lost around 1.2 million years of life from accidental drug overdoses from 2015 to 2019, study finds
- Around 1.2 million years of life were lost from people aged ten to 24 who died of an accidental overdose from 2015 to 2019, a new study finds
- Over 200,000 years of life were lost among those aged ten to 19 alone from overdoses
- The study was performed before the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to a surge of overdose deaths across all age groups
- Researchers call for American health officials to put more programs in place to help combat the nation’s drug problems
Accidental drug overdoses may have cost America’s young generations lost over a million years worth of life during a five year period from 2015 to 2019, a new study finds.
Researchers from Ohio State University, in Columbus, gathered data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to find the number of years of life lost from children and teens aged ten to 19 who died of an accidental drug overdose.
By comparing age of death to the average life expectancy, they found the age group suffered 200,000 lost years of life. When the study age was extended to 24 years old, they found a total of 1.2 million years of life lost.
Drug overdoses have become a massive problem for health officials in the U.S., and this study does not account for a period of time during the Covid pandemic where record overdose deaths were recorded. It appears that crisis is affecting the nations youth as well.
Researchers found that 1.2 million years of life were lost from accidental drug overdoses among Americans ten to 19 years old from 2015 to 2019. Around 200,000 of those lives were lost among people ten to 19 alone
‘Our findings represent an unacceptable preventable mortality burden for adolescents and young people in the U.S.’ researchers wrote in the study, published Monday in JAMA Pediatrics.
In total, 3,296 people between ages ten and 19 died from an accidental overdose from 2015 to 2019, with the figure jumping to 21,689 for ages ten to 24.
Using 2017 Social Security Administration data, researchers estimated how long each of these children would have lived on average had they not overdosed.
The figures were them combined, giving a harrowing looks as to how much life was extinguished.
‘Prior research has identified polysubstance use, psychiatric comorbidity, and unstable housing as relevant risk factors for unintentional drug overdose in this age cohort,’ researchers wrote.
The pandemic exacerbated these factors for the young as well. With the pandemic brought on a surge of people suffering from depression and anxiety caused by the uncertainty and disruptions to every day life that came with Covid, and coping with a mass casualty even that has killed over 800,000 people.
Children and teens in particular have reported to have been effected by schools closures and sudden social isolation.
These mental health issues affected everyone, and combined with the disruption of treatment for drug addictions due to Covid, overall overdose deaths, among all age groups, ended up surging during the pandemic.
From April 2020 to April 2021, the U.S. recorded a record of 100,306 drug overdoses, with more than 75 percent being attributed to opioids. It is the first ever 12 month span where the U.S. recorded more than 100,000 overdose deaths.
More than 100,000 Americans died from an overdose from April 2020 to April 2021, the most ever recorded in a 12 month span, as the pandemic exacerbated the nation’s drug abuse issues (file photo)
While data from this study does not include the pandemic, it is possible the figure would be higher if the study included 2020 and 2021.
The research team writes that health officials should do more to prevent drug abuse in the U.S. and curb the crisis.
‘Our findings suggest that further resources are needed to mitigate these factors,’ they wrote.
‘The present study should inform future mortality reviews among adolescents and young people, as well as ecologic interventions involving family, school, and community, in unintentional drug overdose prevention and substance use treatment.’