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Study Shows 1 In 8 Deaths Among Young People Related To Prescription Opiates

A Canadian study led by a scientist named Tara Gomes reports that the increased use of opiate pain medications is responsible for 1 out of 8 deaths among young Canadians in 2010. The report is known by the name, “The Burden of Premature Opioid-Related Mortality,” reported that deaths of some 5,935 young adults aged 25-34 is also effecting Ontario's economy by depriving the territory of almost 22,000 years of potential life loss.

The study used data extracted from the office of the chief coroner and the registered persons database to find all deaths caused by overdose from prescription opiates between 1991 and 2010. According to the report, for the first 10 years (1991-2000) the number of drug-related deaths remained steady at about 15 per 1,000,000 per capita. Deaths climbed dramatically reaching 45 per 1,000,000 per capita, or 1 in 170 deaths. Right in line with the numbers in Canada, the United States had strikingly similar numbers. The U.S. Reported one in eight deaths of people 24-35 related to prescription opiate overdoses.

Most users start in their teens and progress over time. It starts out as a recreational type of thing and before you know it, you are hooked. Most young adults have no idea what to do, where to turn, and even what they got themselves into before it's too late. They run out of pills for the first time and find themselves very ill. Complaining of flu like symptoms with depression and anxiety, most look for answers online. After a quick research session on the internet, it becomes evident that the recreational habit they have is much worse than they had originally thought.

If you become sick after stopping use, it is a dead giveaway that you are addicted. Instead of going through the withdrawal symptoms, most head out in search for more pills. Many claim that their addiction is not that serious and they can stop whenever they want.  Thinking that they will just have a little more fun and take care of it down the line when it starts to interfere with their life.

Truth is that most people can not just stop. They need professional help and a strong support system. The lack of education in Canada needs to be at the forefront. Professionals and recovering addicts need to get out into the communities to educate the youth. They need to be taught the truth about what these pills are capable of doing.

"I think that every doctor who contemplates starting a patient on an opioid for chronic pain should look at the figures and realize that they are playing with fire,” said senior author Dr. David Juurlink, a scientist at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences in Toronto and head of the division of clinical pharmacology and toxicology at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. Long term use of pain medications by those who are not dealing with chronic pain can be opening up a door to addiction, overdose, and even death.


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