MDNN: Baby Boomers and Millennials at Risk for Opioid Overdose, Alex Azar Testifies for HHS, Youth Self-Harm Rates on the Rise

DECEMBER 01, 2017
MD Magazine Staff

Hi, I’m Jenna Payesko, and this is MD Magazine News Network - it’s clinical news for connected physicians.

A new study from the American Journal of Public Health reported that baby boomers and millennials suffer from an excess risk of overdose death from prescription opioids and heroin. The data from the National Center for Health Statistics showed that drug overdose deaths have increased from nearly 5 per every 100,000 people in 1999, to over 13 per 100,000 in 2014. Since 2010, baby boomers have had a heightened rate of prescription opioid and heroin deaths, while millennials have increased in heroin overdose rates. Researchers surmised the cause of increased generational rates is due to illicit drug use, drug availability, and a desire for new experiences.

In the midst of his nomination to secretary of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar, former president of the US division of Eli Lilly, testified on his connection to raised prescription drug prices and his ideas for public health in a hearing with the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. Azar told the committee that he is in favor of fostering competition for brand-name drugs and generics to drop drug prices, something that he was involved in when he was the HHS general counsel during George W. Bush’s presidency. Said Azar, quote “Drug prices are too high. The president has made this clear, so have I.” Azar said his extensive knowledge of health agencies working together will help address issues in drug prices while still encouraging medicine discovery.

Emergency department visits for nonfatal self-inflicted injuries in young patients, particularly girls, has been on a significant rise in the US for the past decade. According to a CDC study, the rate of emergency visits due to self-inflicted injuries in patients aged 10 to 24 years old has increased by an average of 5.7% annually. In females aged 10 to 14 years old, the rate has increased by an annual average of 18.8% since 2009. The overall rate increase is consistent with previous studies showing a rising in youth suicides from the same span of years. Researchers called for the implementation of evidence-based, comprehensive suicide and self-harm prevention strategies within health systems and communities.
 
For these stories and more, visit us at mdmag.com. I’m Jenna Payesko for MDNN, thank you for watching.
 

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