Study Makes Grim Finding About Overdoses in Families

Study Makes Grim Finding About Overdoses in Families

( – The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has revealed that more than 320,000 children in the US lost a parent to overdose between 2011 and 2021. Overall, figures show that just under 650,000 people aged 18 to 64 died from drug overdoses during that period, with kids statistically more likely to lose a father than a mother. Dr. Emily Einstein, who leads science policy at the NIDA, said people often forget that addiction does not entirely define a person, and those suffering from addiction often have dependents who experience severe trauma when they overdose.

The study found that children of American Indian or Native Alaskan communities were more likely to lose a parent than any other group, at a rate of 187 per 100,000. The figure is 76.5 for non-Hispanic white children and 73 for non-Hispanic black children. The most significant increase in deaths over the decade was found among black children with parents aged between 18 and 25. That figure rose approximately 24% every year.

Dr. Einstein furthermore noted that children who grow up with drug-abusing parents are more likely to use drugs themselves. The US Department of Health and Human Services reported in 2022 that more than 21 million American children live with a parent who uses illicit substances, and over 2 million have a parent who suffers from severe addiction problems. Children younger than 12 years old were more likely to live with such a parent, and figures vary significantly from state to state.

From 2015 to 2019, the state with the highest number of parents with substance use disorders (SUD), or use that is characterized as addiction, was Maine, at 4.9%. Kentucky was in second place at 4%. The lowest percentage was in Nebraska, at 0.8%. Substance abuse most often involves alcohol, with a nationwide figure of 4.7% from 2015 to 2019. In second place is marijuana at 0.8%, followed by opioids at 0.7%.

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