Drug overdose deaths amongst adolescents surged throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, pushed overwhelmingly by illicit fentanyl, in keeping with a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Monthly drug overdose deaths almost tripled amongst adolescents ages 10 to 19 in the course of the first two years of the pandemic. Deaths rose from 31 in July 2019 to a peak of 87 in May 2021 after which fell to 51 in December 2021.
“Although deaths appear to have begun declining in late 2021, they are still alarmingly higher than in 2019,” the authors wrote within the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, which printed Thursday.
More than 2,200 adolescents overdosed in the course of the 2½ yr interval, 96% of whom had been youngsters ages 15 to 19. Fentanyl was concerned in 84% of the deaths whereas opioids of any kind had been concerned in 91%.
Fentanyl deaths amongst adolescents almost quadrupled from 21 in July 2019 to a peak of 78 in May 2021 after which declined to 44 in December 2021.
About 70% of the victims had been boys and 30% had been women. Some 60% of those that died had been white, 21% had been Hispanic and 13% had been Black.
Fentanyl is an artificial opioid that is as much as 100 instances stronger than morphine, in keeping with the National Institute on Drug Abuse. It’s used as a prescription drug within the U.S. to deal with folks affected by extreme ache after surgical procedure. But illegally manufactured fentanyl, typically consumed as a capsule, has turn out to be an more and more widespread explanation for overdose deaths.
There was proof that 25% of adolescent overdose deaths could have concerned counterfeit capsules that usually resemble OxyContin or Xanax however regularly embody fentanyl as nicely. This is probably going an underestimate as a result of capsules current on the scenes weren’t all the time examined, in keeping with the examine.
“Whether adolescents intended to take legitimate pharmaceutical medications or were aware pills were counterfeit is unclear,” the authors wrote.
About 41% of those that overdosed had a earlier historical past psychological well being points. Some 24% had psychological well being therapy earlier than, 19% had been recognized with despair, and 15% had a previous historical past of suicidal or self-harm conduct.
The authors of the CDC examine mentioned its essential to coach youngsters on the risks of fentanyl and to develop entry to naloxone, a drug that may reverse an overdose. Teens must also be educated concerning the potential presence of illicit fentanyl in capsules which will resemble prescribed drugs.
If you’re having suicidal ideas or are in misery, contact the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 for assist and help from a educated counselor.