Fatal drug overdoses double among US teens

SAN FRANCISCO

The number of American teens who died from drug overdoses doubled between 1999 and 2015, according to a report released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The overdose death rate for teens increased two-fold between 1999 and 2007. It declined after 2007 but spiked again in 2015, when the CDC counted 772 overdose deaths for children aged 15-19, a rate of 3.7 deaths per 100,000 teens. In 1999, it was 1.6 per 100,000.

For both male and female adolescents, the majority of drug overdose deaths in 2015 were unintentional, the report noted.

The recent surge in heroin use, along with other opioids, was seen as the main reason for the increased deaths. The CDC reported opioids caused 35,000 American deaths in 2015. The opioid death rate hit an all-time high in 2014.

The report said more female adolescents overdosed intentionally than males in 2015.

More than one-fifth of drug overdose deaths among female adolescents aged 15-19 were suicide compared with 8.7 percent for males, it said.

Last week, President Donald Trump declared the opioid crisis, which is especially severe in rural areas, a national emergency.

It's a national emergency. We're going to spend a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of money on the opioid crisis.

Although the details of his declaration are still unclear, it will likely result in additional federal funds for improving addiction treatment centers and paying for local police departments to keep anti-overdose medication on hand.

Source: Anadolu Agency