COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTRF) – A silent, hidden, health crisis in our communities is taking the lives of our adolescents. 

Researchers at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and College of Medicine have conducted a study, researching the increase in “Years of Life Lost” due to unintentional drug overdoses during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Even authors and researchers of this study found the 113% increase in “Years of Life Lost” among adolescents ages 10-19 in the United States overwhelming. 

”We had seen that there were unacceptable numbers of adolescents dying from accidental drug overdose prior to 2020, but seeing it just shoot up in 2020 was just a real shock to me,” said Journal of Adolescent Health Study Co-Author Dr. Orman Trent Hall.

Unintentional drug overdose means just as it sounds: deaths that are occurring completely by accident when users are exposed to illicitly manufactured fentanyl.  

This is an incredible risk for any user, but especially for children and teenagers.  

”We really don’t know how many of our adolescents who died, this was their first time experimenting with any substance. We don’t know how many people have died of overdose in the United States who, after that use, maybe never would have used substances ever again.”

Dr. Orman Trent Hall – Journal of Adolescent Health Study Co-Author

Fentanyl contributed to 81% of overdose deaths in 2020 and 68,356 years of life lost. 

Dr. Trent Hall also says that Naloxone is a miracle drug that everyone should carry on them at all times to treat suspected opioid overdose, whether you know of someone using or not. 

”It’s really important for us to look our for the young people in our lives. We need to talk to the to make sure they are aware of fentanyl, to make sure they are aware of how lethal and dangerous it is, and the fact that it can be mixed into things or disguised as other things that they might perceive as being less risky, but we know now even a single experimentation can be deadly if fentanyl is involved.”

Dr. Orman Trent Hall – Journal of Adolescent Health Study Co-Author