Consider this a hash warning for twenty and thirty-somethings. According to some new research released by TIME Magazine, opioids are now responsible for one in every five deaths among young people. As you would expect, overdoses are the prime culprit; caused by everything from pills to heroin needles. But we find this stat to be truly alarming, as this demographic is now signaled out as the biggest fatality risk.
The study categorizes “young people” as Americans between the ages of 25 and 34. That grouping accounted for 8,400 U.S. opioid deaths in 2016, nearly a third of all fatalities related to the drug. The total OD number reached 28,496 that year and you can bet that totals from this year and beyond will be in even greater numbers.
Approximately 20 percent of all deaths within the 25 to 34 sect involved opioids. They were followed by Americans aged 35 to 44, who reported 6,700 fatal overdoses within the same timespan. Other painkiller death totals included 5,600 for people between the ages of 45 to 54, 3,800 for 55 to 64-year-olds and 800 among seniors aged 65 and up.
An additional scary stat from this study revealed that nearly 13 percent of all teenage deaths are caused by opioids. Children between the ages of 15 and 24 were responsible for 3,000 opioid-related fatalities in 2016. All of these numbers shot up significantly in the last decade, with the opioid D.O.A. rate doubling since 2009.
“Premature death from opioid-related causes imposes an enormous and growing public health burden across the United States,” TIME’s researchers said in the article. “These trends highlight a need for tailored programs and policies.”
One other interesting component of the study compared total opioid deaths to America’s other leading killers. When you want to look at the epidemic in cold, hard facts, these stats are pretty hard to ignore. According to TIME, painkiller abuse is responsible for more premature fatalities than high blood pressure, pneumonia and HIV/AIDS. It is also apparently closing in on cancer (which currently takes the most lives).
To close out their piece, TIME shared a very moving video from their Opioid Diaries series, which profiles real Americans impacted by the crisis. As the disclaimer says before the clip; this may be disturbing to watch, but it is very important for anyone who wants to truly understand how deadly this epidemic has become.