Opioid overdoses from substances have spiked among youths ─Study

*Researchers say treatments should target overall substance abuse as opioid overdose deaths involving more than one substance are most common in young people

*The study revealed that stimulants, including cocaine, were the most commonly used substances in addition to opioids

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

A fresh study conducted by researchers from the Boston Medical Center, in the United States (US), has found that opioid overdose deaths that involve more than one substance are most common in young people.

The researchers opine that methamphetamines and cocaine are most commonly used in conjunction with opioids for people between the ages of 13 and 25, agency report said.

However, in combating this issue, the experts explained that treatment options should focus on substance abuse as a whole, not just opioids.

Researcher Dr. Scott Hadland said: “Our study provides significant insight into what is driving opioid-related overdoses among adolescents and young adults, which can help improve treatment and outcomes in this population,”

In respect of a broader substance issue, to understand the trends emerging among young people when it comes to opioid overdoses, the researchers analysed data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Wide-Ranging Online Data for Epidemiologic Research.

They focused on opioid overdose deaths involving young people between ages 13 and 25 that occurred from 1999 to 2018.

The finding revealed that opioid-related deaths increased by more than 380 percent over the course of the study, and the researchers found that the mortality rate for those who combined opioids with other substances increased even more.

More than half of the 4,623 opioid-related deaths in 2018 involved multiple substances, according to the researchers.

The study disclosed that stimulants, including cocaine, were the most commonly used substances in addition to opioids.

In this study, cocaine was responsible for nearly 70 percent of all multiple-substance deaths in 2018.

Overall, the study found that multiple-substance opioid overdose deaths increased by 760 percent between 1999 and 2018, and by 350 percent between 2010 and 2018.

These findings highlight just how dangerous substance abuse has become among young people, particularly when opioids are also involved.

Going forward, the researchers’ sole focus is how treatment options can be better tailored to young people’s needs.

This study has shown how opioid use is part of a much larger substance abuse problem, and future treatments and preventative measures should be targeted towards those areas.

Dr. Jamie Lim, one of the researchers, said: “These results emphasise that we need to be focusing on more than just opioids when treating young people with opioid use disorder.

“As providers, we need to recognise that co-occurring substance use disorders are common, and they must be addressed simultaneously when treating opioid.”

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