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July 2018 (Vol. 3 Issue 5)

Opioids responsible for 20 per cent of all deaths among young adults
About the author: 
Bryan Hubbard

Opioids responsible for 20 per cent of all deaths among young adults image

One in every five deaths among young adults in the US is caused by opioid painkillers, a new study has discovered. The drugs' death toll has tripled in the past few years alone

Overall, one in 65 deaths in the US can be attributed to opioid addiction or misuse, but the rate is far higher in young adults aged between 24 and 35, amongst whom the drug accounted for 20 per cent of all deaths.

Just 15 years ago, the drug was responsible for just 4 per cent of deaths in that age group, researchers from St Michael's Hospital in Toronto discovered after they reviewed all deaths recorded and analysed by the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The researchers estimate that 1.68 million years of life have been lost prematurely to the drugs in 2016 alone, making them more lethal than hypertension (high blood pressure), HIV/AIDS and pneumonia.

The researchers fear that, without controls and better education, the devastating harm of the opioids could "impact the US for generations."


References

(Source: JAMA Network Open, 2018; 1: e180217)

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