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Non-Fatal Overdoses Are Rising Among Teens

When it comes to recovery, a very interesting place to gather research from is hospital ERs. It is here where doctors can tally what demographics of people are coming in for addiction-related emergencies. And one stat that always gets called out is overdoses; whether they are fatal or non-fatal. Interestingly, new data has revealed that non-fatal ODs have seen a sharp spike among teens in recent months; particularly those 15 or younger.


CNN shared the story on their site this week, highlighting some interesting stats when it comes to young teens and drug use. Not surprisingly, opioids and prescription medications were behind the lion’s share of overdoses in these scenarios. When compared to similar data published a year ago, the research revealed that these types of ODs were up by as much as 25 percent.


Thankfully, as mentioned above, the large majority of teens impacted by this survived. These were non-fatal and lives were saved due to quick medical intervention. But it is a warning sign nonetheless and, as lead study author Douglas Roehler told CNN, COVID-19 and quarantines may have been major contributors.


“Although further research is needed to both indicate if these patterns are continuing and to identify the specific drugs driving the increases, our results suggest that targeted interventions, even with young children, such as multifaceted approaches including school, family, and medical providers may be warranted to prevent overdoses requiring medical treatment,” Roehler told the site. “What we’re seeing right now with teens 15 and younger is an average of 22.3 drug overdoses per 10,000 emergency room visits.”


There have been theories that without schools open and the watchful eye of teachers and counselors, teen dependencies are happening unnoticed. This is particularly common in addicted families, where parents are themselves victims of opioid misuse (and creating accessibility for younger members of the household).


Of course, these stats also apply to parents who have no addiction issues whatsoever. In those circumstances, the article lists tips and warning signs; to ensure moms and dads are aware if there’s a problem. Behavior changes like fatigue and anxiety are things to watch out for, along with weight loss and dark circles under the eyes. It is also recommended that all pill bottles be safely stored and locked within the home, to ensure less accessibility.


This is a much more common issue than parents may think and we at Valley Recovery Center are here to help. Please reach out if you think a teen in your home may have a problem.