The number of U.S. teens dying from drug overdose is on the rise, according to a report released in mid-August by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
From 1999 to 2007, the CDC tracked a steady and significant increase in drug-related deaths of U.S. teenagers aged 15-19 – rising from 1.6 per 100,000 to a height of 4.2 per 100,000.
A steady decline to 3.1 per 100,000 took place from 2007 to 2014, but this trajectory reversed in 2015 with an increase to 3.7.
Death by opioid overdose accounted for much of the recent trend – rising from 2.0 per 100,000 (2014) to 2.4 (2015).
The number of overdose deaths from heroin, an opioid derived from morphine, reached a new high of 1.0 per 100,000 older teens in 2015, more than tripling since 1999 (0.3 per 100,000).
Of all 2015 drug-related deaths among teens aged 15-19, 80.4 percent were unintentional, 13.5 percent were suicide and 5.2 percent were undetermined.
The report emphasized that “drug overdose deaths in the United States are a pressing public health challenge” for everyone, and referenced several earlier studies on the rise in drug-related deaths across all age groups.
One of the cited reports was a February 2017 CDC study that found “In 2015, rates for adults aged 25-34, 35-44, 45-54 and 55-64 were more than twice the rate for younger adults aged 15-24, and more than 3.5 times the rate for adults aged 65 and over.”
The full CDC report is available here.