Millennials Suffering ‘Deaths of Despair’ – Suicide, Alcohol and Drug Overdose

According to the study, young adults over the past 20 years experienced the “largest proportional increases of alcohol-induced deaths compared with other age groups,” with the number of alcohol-induced deaths doubling between 1999 and 2017.

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Millennials Suffering ‘Deaths of Despair’ - Suicide, Alcohol and Drug Overdose
Millennials Suffering ‘Deaths of Despair’ - Suicide, Alcohol and Drug Overdose - Credit: Shutterstock

The highest number of Americans died from drug-induced fatalities and suicide in 2017, affecting all ages but severely impacting millennials. That’s according to a recent survey, “Alcohol and Drug Misuse and the Millennial Generation — a Devastating Impact,” conducted by Trust for America’s Health, a nonprofit, public health policy think tank.

The survey suggests that drug deaths for millennials in their 20s and 30s skyrocketed — up 400 percent during the past two decades — amplified by the nation’s recent opioid crisis. Not only have drug deaths increased but suicide and alcohol-related deaths increased for millennial.

“For young adults ages 18 to 34 in 2017, there were nearly 31 drug-overdose deaths
per 100,000 people,” the study suggested. “Meanwhile, alcohol death rates for young adults ages 18 to 34 went up 69 percent between 2007 and 2017, and suicide deaths for the same age group and same years went up 35 percent.”
Trust for America’s health dubbed this increase as the “nation’s tidal wave of deaths of despair.”

According to the study, young adults over the past 20 years experienced the “largest proportional increases of alcohol-induced deaths compared with other age groups,” with the number of alcohol-induced deaths doubling between 1999 and 2017.

Between 2007 and 2017, there was a 69 percent increase in the number of alcohol deaths among people ages 18 to 34,” the study suggested. “During the same time period, the increase in alcohol deaths for people ages 35 to 54 was 22 percent, and for people 55 to 74, it was 45 percent.26 Among all age groups, about 88,000 people die of alcohol-attributable causes per year (including injury deaths, like car crashes, where excessive alcohol consumption is a contributing factor), making excessive alcohol consumption the third-leading cause of preventable death in the United States today.”

According to the survey there are few specialized preventative efforts targeting young adults to help combat these issues, stating there is limited attention devoted to millennials’ well-being.

“Several effective interventions for children take advantage of the access that schools offer,” the survey suggests. “Similarly, for those in college, there are preventive interventions for behavioral health, such as alcohol awareness and suicide-prevention programs. But, for those not in college or beyond college, the research and opportunities for behavioral health, such as alcohol awareness and suicide-prevention programs. But, for those not in college or beyond college, the research and opportunities for interventions are sparse.”

To help combat the overwhelming number of “deaths of despair” the Trust for America’s Health foundation suggests that medical officials should offer screening and treatment for mental health and substance abuse disorders be made a part of routine health care; make behavioral health a part of routine health care; employ well-tested screening tools for mental health and substance abuse disorders; and improve access to health care provider information.

The report gathered information from the National Center for Health Statistics’ Multiple Cause of Death Files from 1999 to 2017 to determine the data.

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