Medical journal study shows dramatic increase in opioid deaths in young people

Marc LaVoie
January 03, 2019 - 7:37 am

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A recently released study shows troubling numbers concerning young people and opioids.

Child and teen opioid deaths have nearly tripled over the past 20 years.

The staff at Recover Health Services in Kansas City has noticed a sharp uptick in younger people using opioids, said Shawn Holland, team leader.

"Young people taking their parents' medication from the medicine cabinet, old pain killers, stuff like that, is where we think it's beginning," Holland said. 

Recover Health Services is part of Truman Medical Center. 

"I was a freshman at K-State when I started (taking opioids)," said Paul Crabtree, one of Holland's clients. Crabtree has been clean and sober for five years.

A new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows children and teens, ages 15 to 19, saw the biggest increases in deaths. The study shows a nearly 405 percent spike in heroin deaths and an almost 95 percent increase in prescription drug deaths.

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