Over One-Third of Youths Who Died From Mental Health Drug Overdose Had Recent Prescription - Study

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Pills - Sputnik International, 1920, 11.03.2022
The use of psychoactive substances around the world has recently come under greater scrutiny, with scientists focusing on their ambiguous effects. Benzodiazepines, in particular, have hypnotic, sedative, anxiolytic effects and are used to treat symptoms of mental anxiety, insomnia, epileptic seizures, and withdrawal syndrome.
Forty percent of young people between 15 and 24 who overdosed on benzodiazepine had a prescription issued in the prior six months in comparison to 39 percent who had a stimulant prescription within the same timeframe, according to an analysis published in the journal Pediatrics.
The study examined data from a US commercial claims database of privately insured Americans to determine the number of teens and adults that have abused such benzodiazepine derivatives as Xanax, or psychostimulants, such as Adderall, from 2016 and 2018, said Greta Bushnell, a corresponding author from the Centre for Pharmacoepidemiology and Treatment Sciences at the Rutgers Institute for Health.

"Given that a substantial proportion of youth with overdoses involving BZD or stimulants have prescriptions for these drugs in the prior months, physician encounters when these medications are prescribed may offer an opportunity to identify youth at high risk of overdose", she said in a press release.

A total of 727 young people died from an overdose caused by the use of benzodiazepines, and 902 – from a psychostimulant overdose, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
"These findings highlight the need for physicians to assess youth for self-injury risk who are prescribed BZDs and stimulants, as well as the need for varying efforts to prevent intentional and unintentional overdoses", Bushnell continued.
This photo provided by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's Phoenix Division shows one of four containers holding some of the 30,000 fentanyl pills the agency seized in one of its bigger busts in Tempe, Ariz., in August 2017. Fentanyl is a potent synthetic opioid. - Sputnik International, 1920, 19.12.2021
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She also stressed the need to reduce the possibility of the use of illicit substances along with drugs and opioids, as they all "increase the potential for harm with BZDs and stimulants".
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