Teen Drug Use Is Down But Opioid Overdoses Are Up

While Teen Drug Use is Down Deadly Opioid Overdoses Are On The Rise

teen drug use
Teen drug use is down, but overdose deaths are up

According to a new report put out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drug overdose deaths among older American teenagers increased in 2015.  This was after a steady decline and in spite of the fact that overall drug use among this group has declined.  The research showed that between 1999 and 2015, drug overdose death rates for 15- to 19-year-olds more than doubled.  In total, there were 772 drug overdose deaths among older teens in 2015, with two-thirds more deaths among males than females. Between 2014 and 2015, the overdose death rate for males in this age group rose 15 percent. For women the rate increased 35 percent between 2013 and 2015.

Noteworthy is that over 80 percent of overdose deaths were unintentional, the rest were due to suicides or homicides involving drug overdose.

Opioids Are The Leading Cause of Teen Overdose

A 2015 study in the journal Pediatrics also found that teens who are prescribed opioids in high school are 33 percent more likely to abuse any opioid or opiate between ages 19 and 23.  Such prescriptions are often the result of a sports injury.

Heroin Use Among Teenagers Is Also More Prevalent

Opioids and prescription pain killers appear to be gateway drugs for heroin.  Heroin is typically less expensive and widely available.  Several states have passed laws limiting how many opioid pills doctors can prescribe at a time.  While many teens begin with prescription opioids, others reach heroin after years of experimenting with other drugs.

Helping Teenagers

There are some bright spots in this reports.  According to this survey in 2016 drug use, other than marijuana, among teens is at its lowest point in decades.   Over the last five years abuse of prescription opioids among 12th graders. Heroin use among 10th- and 12th-grade students remains very low.

For teenagers who develop drub abuse problems and drug addiction, some sort of intervention is critical.  Whether an out patient counseling program, or in patient treatment center, it’s important to help a teenager end their drug use and get their life pointed back in a positive direction.  These are there formative years and some bad habits can be lethal.
If you or your teenagers is struggling with drug abuse, call a professional in your community and get answers and guidance.  And our National Addiction Hotline is here for you 24/7. 1-888-352-6072

Learn the Facts About Opioids and Opiates and read Heroin and Opioid Addiction: In Their Own Words

Nashville Mayors Son Dies of Apparent Opioid Overdose

Max Barry drug overdose victim
Photo Tennessean

Thousands of people die from opioid overdose each year and now Nashville Mayor, Megan Barry’s son, Max,  has become a yet another tragic statistic, he died from an apparent overdose.

His death occurred in Littleton, Colo., a suburb of Denver, where the 22-year-old Max Barry had recently moved after graduating college.

“Early this morning, we received news that no parents should ever have to hear,” Megan and Bruce Barry said in a statement. “Our son Max suffered from an overdose and passed away. We cannot begin to describe the pain and heartbreak that comes with losing our only child. Our son was a kind soul full of life and love for his family and friends.”

Our hearts and prayers go out to the Barry family.   We’ve witnessed the toll opioid addiction and opioid overdose takes on families each and every day.  We’ve seen the heart ache that parents experience when they lose a child to an overdose.  Usually the overdose death is a simple statistic, an anonymous person who does not make headlines, but the pain the family feels is the same.  A senseless and avoidable loss.

Megan Barry with Max as a young child
Megan and Max as a young child

Often times an opioid, or opiate addict knows they need help but doesn’t know how to get it.  In-patient treatment or otherwise medical treatment and detox is often times expensive and determining insurance coverage for treatment can be complicated to the addict and their family.

If you or a loved one is struggling with opioid, opiate, heroin or prescription drug abuse and addiction call our helpline now.  Our phones are manned by trained specialists who can help you make sense of your insurance coverage and provide you with guidance.  Call now, don’t risk being another statistic. 1-888-352-6072

  • Messages of condolence to be sent to megan.barry@nashville.gov or Office of Mayor Megan Barry, 1 Public Sq, Nashville, TN 37201.