Fatal Opioid Overdose Rates Among U.S. Teens Rising

Fatal Opioid Overdose Rates Among Teens Rising

The rate of drug overdose deaths among adolescents ages 15 to 19 in the United States increased 19% from 2014 to 2015, according to a new federal report. The new numbers come from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, which looked at drug overdose deaths among teens from 1999-2015.

More specifically, the rate of overdose fatalities for males increased by 15 percent from 2014 to 2015 and 35 percent for females from 2013 to 2015. The report reveals that most of these drug overdose deaths were accidental, and mostly caused by opioids, including both illicit drugs such as heroin and street fentanyl and prescription painkillers like oxycodone.

Overall, drug overdose deaths more than doubled from 1999 to 2007, then fell 26 percent from 2007 to 2014. However, in 2015, these overdose deaths began to increase, with 772 fatalities – about 500 males and almost 300 females. According to the report, the death rate caused by opioid overdose among this age group tripled from 199 to 2007. Deaths involving other drugs such as cocaine, benzodiapzepines, and psychostimulants also increased, but heroin-related overdose deaths were the highest.

Opioids and Their Grip on Teens

Synthetic opioid overdose deaths among teens have increased sevenfold from 0.1 deaths per 100,000 in 2002 to 0.7 deaths per 100,000 in 2015. Fatal opioid overdose rated involving heroin increased to one in every 100,000 teens, triple what is what back in 1999.

Sadly, males in this age range were most impacted. The report found that death rates for males in 2015 were 70 percent higher than that of females.

Opioid Teen Deaths CDC

Impacting All Generations

In 2015, more than 33,000 Americans died from opioid overdose deaths, including prescription opioids and heroin, according to the CDC. This crisis has led to resounding backlash against both doctors who prescribe medications too easily and regularly, as well as pharmaceutical companies that produce, market and distribute their products, such as OxyContin and Vicodin.

President Donald Trump, who recently declared the opioid epidemic a national emergency earlier this month, said that combating the crisis requires reaching out to younger Americans.

“The opioid crisis is an emergency and I’m saying officially right now it is an emergency,” Trump told reporters. “We’re going to draw it up and we’re going to make it a national emergency. It is a serious problem, the likes of which we have never had.”

Opioid Addiction Treatment Options

If you or someone you love is addicted to prescription painkillers or street drugs like heroin or fentanyl, now is the time to seek professional help. At Get Treatment, we can help you find an accredited drug treatment center that provides individualized care and support for ongoing recovery. To learn more about your options for treatment, call 855-638-9268.

Erica Loret de Mola


Erica Loret de Mola is a communications major who has been writing about addiction treatment for approximately three years. As content manager and editor in chief of Get Treatment, she strives to provide the most accurate and current information available to our clients.


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