Alarming Rise in Opioid Overdose Among Young Canadians: New Study Reveals

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Opioid Addiction - image: depositphotos.com
Opioid Addiction - image: depositphotos.com

Quadrupled ER Visits and Tripled Deaths

A new study, being released today, presents alarming findings on opioid usage among the age group of 15 to 24 years. The study’s lead, Tara Gomes, from the Ontario Drug Policy Research Network and Unity Health Toronto, characterizes the situation as a cause for concern.

The research shows a significant surge in emergency-room visits due to opioid overdoses among the 15-24 age group. The numbers quadrupled from 69 in the second quarter of 2014 to an alarming 297 visits in the same period of 2021. Moreover, deaths related to opioid overdoses also saw a three-fold increase from 21 per quarter in 2014 to 58 in the first quarter of 2021.

While a decline to 29 deaths was observed in the second quarter of 2021, researchers are yet to determine if this indicates a meaningful trend.

Half of the Deceased Were Recreational Users

Surprisingly, only half of the deceased young individuals were diagnosed with an opioid-use disorder. This suggests that the remaining half were likely either experimenting with drugs or using them recreationally before their untimely deaths. The study further reveals that almost all of the opioid-related fatalities among young people were tied to the use of toxic, illicit fentanyl.

National Data Indicates Major Public Health Crisis

The new data also sheds light on the nationwide opioid crisis. Over 7,300 people succumbed to an opioid overdose in Canada last year, averaging 20 individuals per day. The figures represent a 9% reduction from the 2021 statistics according to the Special Advisory Committee on the Epidemic of Opioid Overdoses. However, despite this slight reduction, the numbers still signify a major public health crisis.

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