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Youth overdose deaths tripled in NY

December 29th, 2015

drugsinbaggiesALBANY — New York ranked as the 21st highest in the country for number of youth drug overdose deaths.

The rate of deaths in the state when looking at youth overdoses from ages 12 to 25 was 6.9 per 100,000; the national death rate for youth overdoses was slightly higher at 7.3 per 100,000, a report released this week showed.

Trust for America’s Health, the Washington D.C.-based non-profit group that released the report, also created a report card that scored states on substance-abuse prevention efforts.

New York did well: a nine of out 9, ranking only behind Minnesota and New Jersey.

But New York was one of 12 states that saw youth overdose death rates triple in the last 12 years, the report found by analyzing state and federal data.

“More than 90 percent of adults who develop a substance use disorder began using before they were 18,” said Jeffrey Levi, the group’s executive director, said in a statement. “Achieving any major reduction in substance misuse will require a reboot in our approach

The report card had 10 grading points: including states’ ability to prevent smoking, bullying and underage alcohol sales. It also graded states on mental health funding, depression treatment and Good Samaritan laws.

New York’s only negative mark was for their failure to support academic achievement, meaning that the state has a graduation rate of less than 80 percent.

New York has dealt with a surge in heroin abuse in recent years, leading to stronger laws and additional funding for treatment programs.

The organization attributed youth overdose deaths and the doubling in youth heroin use in the nation to the rise of prescription drug misuse, noting, “45 percent of people who use heroin are also addicted to prescription painkillers.”

Youth overdose death rates were highest in West Virginia with 12.6 per 100,000, the report showed.

Nick Muscavage, Gannett Albany Bureau 4:07 p.m. EST November 20, 2015

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