A new study details the horrific impact of drug abuse on young people. The study, which was published in the medical journal JAMA Pediatrics found that between 2015 and 2019, 3,296 children between the ages of 10 and 19 died due to an unintentional drug overdose.
The researchers said that when calculating the number of years of life lost, it equals nearly 200,000. When looking at everybody under the age of 24 who died during that time period as the result of an unintentional drug overdose, the total years of lost life jumps to 1.25 million.
“This is just completely unacceptable from a public health standpoint because every one of these deaths is preventable,” study co-author Dr. Orman T. Hall, a psychiatry specialist at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, said, according to CNN.
Hall said that the research highlights the need for creating public health measures aimed at helping adolescents deal with drug abuse.
“A lot of our public health interventions are geared towards adults. And we know that the types of messaging and, really, the points of contact for adolescents and young people are different from adults,” Dr. Hall explained.
The number of Americans dying from drug overdose has continued to climb in recent years. Last year, the number of drug overdose deaths topped 100,000 for the first time ever and increased by 29% from 2020.