Over 100 Teens And Young Adults Diagnosed Each Day in Emergency Departments With Opioid Addiction
As another reminder of the increasing costs of the nation’s opioid epidemic, a new study reveals that over 100 teenagers and young adults who are addicted to opioids are visiting emergency departments every day.
Indeed, almost 50,000 patients who arrived at emergency rooms in 2013 who tested positive for opioid dependence were 21 years or younger. This number reflects an increase from 32,200 in 2008.
Around 88% of these patients were aged 18-21, and about 8% were 16-17. A tiny percentage were children below age 12. Opioids detected in the patients’ system included prescription medications such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, and street drugs such as heroin.
Following the ER visit, nearly 60% were discharged as normal, and almost 32% were given continuing care. Those patients who came from households considered high-income were more likely to receive continuing care than discharged; moreover, patients who were uninsured were less likely to be admitted to the hospital.
Overall, 200 young people passed in emergency care and 325 others died during hospitalization.
Medicaid covered for around 37% of emergency department visits and private insurance companies covered for just over 41%. Almost one-quarter of patients were completely uninsured.
During the study period, over one-quarter million young people with opioid dependence visited an emergency room in the U.S, and each day in the study’s final year around 135 young people were diagnosed with an opioid addiction in the ER.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 64,000 thousand people lost their lives in 2016 to a drug overdose, most of which were related to prescription opioids or illegal street drugs. That number reflects a significant increase from the year before, up from 53,400 in 2015.
~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology