Disheartening news regarding teen drug abuse was put forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today. After several years of decline in teen drug overdose deaths, the age demographic experienced an overdose increase of 20% in 2015.
With statistics surrounding the opioid epidemic emerging on a daily basis, the teen demographic has been affected alongside the adult population. Synthetic opioids and compounds have been largely responsible for the rapidly growing overdose rates, and continue to leave destruction in their path.
In light of President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency, the opioid epidemic is at the center of the country’s conversation. This new CDC data gives further insight into the lives of America’s teens—a generation that has been raised in the face of the drug epidemic.
Many children have grown up with addiction in their immediate families—or have been exposed to drugs from an increasingly early age. According to CDC analysis, reported by the Chicago Tribune, health experts believe that the upswing in overdoses may be attributable to the aforementioned synthetic opioids.
Lead researcher Sally Curtin stated that, “If the drugs are more potent, your chances of it (drug use) being fatal have perhaps increased.”
While the overdose rates for adults are much higher than those rates associated with teens—it is clear that the problem has begun to take roots within the culture of today’s teens. With so much at stake, prevention must begin as soon as children have the potential to become exposed—which may be sooner than you think.
Educational programs can begin as soon as kindergarten. These programs use age-appropriate methods, such as puppetry, to introduce concepts such as medicine and candy lookalikes to children. The more we talk about drug risks with students, the more likely they will be to keep an open dialogue with parents or other adults.
In a press conference, President Trump echoed these ideas, stating in part that, “The best way to prevent drug addiction and overdose is to prevent people from abusing drugs in the first place, talking to youth […].”
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