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Opioids Overdose Death Rate has Surged Among Young People

While suicides by drug or medicine overdose have decreased overall in recent years, the new federal data published Wednesday raises flags regarding several troubling exceptions.In the overall downward trend, intentional overdose deaths increased among teens and Young adults ages 15 to 24.

Black women and Americans ages 75 to 84 also saw an increase.Experts hoped to address gaps in the existing research about who is at most risk of suicide by drug overdose. Their findings serve as a stark reminder that American teenagers and Young adults struggle with mental health problems and suicide.

The data, which was calculated between 2015 and 2019, focuses on a period of time before the coronavirus pandemic. While there’s no concrete data yet on how the pandemic has affected these numbers, other evidence suggests suicidal thinking and behavior have increased among teens and Young adults since COVID-19 emerged.The new research, along with the data we do have from the pandemic, highlights an urgent need to address mental health in these communities. National data shows that drug overdoses have skyrocketed during the pandemic. Nearly 92,000 people died from drug overdoses in the U.S in 2020, the most significant number on record.

Parents or caregivers who are taking any medications themselves should keep a count of how many pills they have and not give their child access to them, she said. If children are on medication after a surgery or injury, parents should distribute them and make a point to check in on their mental health. All leftover medicine should be returned to the doctor’s office or pharmacy.

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