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California Youth Drug Overdose Deaths Increase

CarbonNYC / Flickr

CarbonNYC / Flickr

The number of California kids who’ve died from drug overdoses has doubled over the last 12 years. But a new study from Trust for America’s Health finds other states have seen greater increases. Some have had their rates quadruple.

The organization’s Rich Hamburg says a small majority of those deaths were from prescription drug overdoses.

"We have almost four times as much medication out there than we had just a couple of decades ago," he says. "So if you have that much out there and it’s not all being used, it’s going to be misused or abused at some point."

California’s youth drug overdose death rate is 4-point-9 for every 100-thousand. The national rate is 7-point-3.

Hamburg says California has several policies in place to prevent or reduce drug use. But he says more needs to be done.

"Of all of the interventions that are out there on drug abuse, substance abuse, prescription drug abuse, many of them are sort of after the fact,"he says.

The study looked at people between the ages of 12 and 25.

Katie Orr

Former Health Care Reporter

Katie Orr reported for Capital Public Radio News through December 2015.  Read Full Bio 

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