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US opioid crisis responsible for rising millenial deaths

The opioid crisis, a public health emergency in the United States, is wreaking havoc with millennials: one out of every five deaths among young adults - between 24 and 35 years of age - is related to opioids, a new report showed.

Published: June 8, 2018, 8:49 am

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    The study called The Burden of Opioid-Related Mortality in the United States was published on Friday in The Journal of the American Medical Association, a peer-reviewed medical journal published 48 times a year by the American Medical Association.

    At St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, Ontario, researchers found that all opiate deaths — which includes natural opiates, semi-synthetic/humanmade opioids, and fully synthetic/humanmade opioids — have increased by an alaming 292 percent from 2001 through 2016.

    That means one in every 65 deaths was related to opioids by 2016. Men represented 70 percent of all opioid-related deaths, while the number was significantly higher for millennials

    One out of every five deaths among millennials in the United States is related to opioids, the study showed. Opioid-related deaths for the same age group accounted for only 4 percent of all deaths in 2001.

    The second most impacted group was 15 to 24-year-olds, suggesting that the opioid crisis has not spared Generation Z, those born after 1995. In 2016, some 12,4 percent of all deaths could be attributed to opioids.

    “Despite the amount of attention that has been placed on this public health issue, we are increasingly seeing the devastating impact that early loss of life from opioids is having across the United States,” Dr Tara Gomes, a scientist at St. Michael’s noted. Gomes said that this was not an isolated public health issue, but one that spans across North America.

    “By 2014, Canada and the United States had the highest per capita opioid consumption in the world and deaths related to opioid use have increased dramatically in both countries,” the study revealed, adding that the public health burden resulting from early loss of life was “substantial”.

    “In the absence of a multidisciplinary approach to this issue that combines access to treatment, harm reduction and education, this crisis will impact the US for generations,” she commented on the increase in casualties by 345 percent in 15 years.

    The spike in opioid deaths coincides with the invasion of Afghanistan – an opium producer – by United States in late 2001.

    A report published by the United Nations Office on Drugs estimates that opium production in Afghanistan had increased by 87 percent in 2017 alone.

    From 2016 to 2017, the area under opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan increased by 63 percent, to 328 000 hectares, the most in Afghan history.

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