Millennials to Inherit More Than Debt, They Face Drug Addiction In Record Numbers
It doesn’t take a lot of effort to hear something mentioned that is negative or discouraging about the day-to-day lives of millennials. They’re up to their ears in student debt. They’re having a harder time finding jobs which can support a comfortable lifestyle. They’re not having kids as young as their parents did. They’re not buying houses as often as previous generations did. While job growth is real and unemployment is down, millennials are starting to take the reigns of a country mired in trillions of dollars of debt. The cost of rent is up, average American savings are down, and to top it all off, millennials are inheriting a country mired in the worst drug addiction epidemic in our history.
So is it any wonder that the millennial generation might be prime candidates for partaking in the very drugs that are so prolific in our country? Not at all. It isn’t in the slightest bit surprising that millennials are using drugs and alcohol at increasing rates.
However, it is very concerning that this is happening. And to make matters worse, drug overdose deaths for the millennial age group recently began to take off as well.
Let’s Look at the Facts
Any time we want to explore information related to deaths within the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is the best resource for this. The CDC is the primary institution in the United States for researching, analyzing, and preventing health-related harm. This organization has been around since 1946, and its researchers, surveyors, and scientists are continually trying to avert major health crises.
Lately, the CDC has been quite concerned about millennials and the dramatic increase in drug overdose deaths among this age group. According to CDC research for 2017, within the age group of 25 to 34 overdose deaths occurred at a rate of 38.4 deaths per 100,000 individuals. The 25-34 age group does not cover the entire millennial generation, but it is a large enough segment of that population to provide a good case study.
What’s equally concerning about the millennial death rate is the fact that this age group is eclipsed by only one other age bracket as far as drug overdose deaths go. The only age group that had a higher death rate than the millennials was the 35-44 age group, and even then, not by much. Persons 35-44 died from drug overdoses at a rate of 39 deaths per 100,000 individuals.
The CDC also has data on drug overdose deaths for millennials in 2015 and 2016. In 2015, about 22 millennials died of drug overdoses for every 100,000 people in that age bracket. By 2016, about 25 millennials were dying from drug overdoses for every 100,000 people in that age bracket. (See the CDC’s chart for reference). The death rate is clearly increasing.
What the CDC research tells us is that millennials, as an age group, are at a high-risk level for drug overdoses. They are certainly at a higher risk than persons under the age of 25 and those over the age of 44.
Further research brings us to another CDC report which also discusses death rates for millennials in 2015 and 2016. This report focuses on overall deaths. According to a CDC chart, overall death rates for the 25-34 age group in 2015 were at 116.7 deaths for every 100,000 persons in that age group. Death rates increased in 2016 to 129 deaths for every 100,000 persons in that age group. The CDC cites drug overdoses as being one of the primary reasons for that increase in mortality, one year to the next. It’s not an insignificant increase either. 116.7 deaths per 100,000 to 129 deaths per 100,000 is about a 12 percent increase in mortality in just one year.
A marketing group called Marketing Charts tells us that there are about 45 million people in the 25-34 age group. If that’s true, then given the above data on numbers of deaths per 100,000 population, we can calculate the following (while referencing our earlier statements on annual death rates):
- “In 2015, about 22 millennials died of drug overdoses for every 100,000 people in that age bracket.” That means that about 9,900 people in that age group died that year from drug overdoses. (45 million people divided by 100,000 and then multiplied by 22 equals 9,900.)
- “By 2016, about 25 millennials were dying from drug overdoses for every 100,000 people in that age bracket.” That means that about 11,250 people in that age group died that year from drug overdoses. (45 million people divided by 100,000 and then multiplied by 25 equals 11,250.)
- “According to CDC research for 2017, persons between the ages of 25 and 34 died at a rate of 38.4 deaths per 100,000 individuals in this age group in that year.” That means that about 17,100 people in that age group died that year from drug overdoses. (45 million people divided by 100,000 and then multiplied by 38 equals 17,100.)
What’s the trend? Drug overdose deaths for our millennial generation are on their way up.
Why Are More Millennials Dying from Drug Overdoses?
In the first section, we went over just a handful of the reasons why millennials might be impelled to use drugs and alcohol. We did not even touch on past experiences, upbringings, or any of the underlying, personal, and behavioral reasons why individual millennials might seek drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism. There are simply hundreds of reasons why someone might feel the need to experiment with substances.
What we need to understand is why an increasing number of millennials are dying from drug overdoses.
The answer might be quite straightforward. The drugs in circulation today are incredibly potent and lethal. For example, the misuse of synthetic opioids has spread across the nation like wildfire. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, synthetic opioids only accounted for 3,007 deaths in 2010. This same drug class caused no less than 19,413 deaths in 2016.
Life struggles burden the millennial generation, they’re turning to extraordinarily addictive and potentially lethal drugs to “cope,” and they’re dying from it.
Help A Friend, Save a Life, Reduce the Drug Problem
The only way we are going to curb the lethal drug addiction crisis among the millennial generation is to help get them off of drugs. We have to help them by getting them into residential drug treatment centers. Someone who is hooked on drugs is not going to be able to get off of those substances on their own. They’ll need professional help from a qualified center.
If you or someone you care about is struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, seek help immediately. It’s not something to be lax about. This is a life or death matter.