Opioid addiction has been on the rise for the past decade, especially due to the easy availability of the drug these days. However, research has revealed that the number of young adults and teens dying due to opioid overdose has also increased significantly, highlighting the worrisome plight of recent times.
The research was conducted on adults ranging from the age of 15 to 24 and it revealed a 19.75% increase from 2006 to 2015 itself. The study was recently published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. When talking of drug overdoses, the one that was on the forefront was opioid which included both the prescription type and the one that is commonly abused, heroin. To get a better statistical perspective, death from opioid overdose rose by 4.8% in a single year itself and by 15.4% between 2013 and 2015. The study was authored by Dr. Bina Ali. She said that the numbers reflect how easily the pharmaceutical drugs are available and it urged the youngsters to resort to a more potent one.
The crisis has had a huge impact on American families with close to 130 people succumbing to it daily. This also gives much-needed leverage to the prosecutors who have been fighting hard against pharmaceutical companies and health sectors. According to them, they have a significant role to play in fueling their overuse. The Rochester Drug Cooperative has already paid $20 million in settlements to the federal government as they are the biggest suppliers of opioid drugs. Other than that, more than 60 pharmacists, doctors, and health professionals were prosecuted with charges of prescribing close to 32 million pills illegally.
Native Americans and Whites were most commonly affected, with numbers of 10 and 11.9 deaths per 100,000 people. For African Americans, the number stands at 2.6 and at 4 for Hispanics. The first introduction to opioid is through Vicodin and OxyContin for most teens. These teens start using it for other purposes like “feeling high”. Thus, it is clear that an intervention is required at the initial stage so that the issue of opioid overdose can be controlled before it takes many more lives.