Drug Overdose Deaths Among Adolescents Aged 15-19 in the United States: 1999-2015

August 16, 2017

Questions for Sally Curtin, Statistician and author of “Drug Overdose Deaths Among Adolescents Aged 15-19 in the United States: 1999-2015

Q:  Do trends in overdose deaths among teens reflect the trends of older adults in the U.S.?

SC: There are some similarities, but also differences.  Both teens and older adults experienced the sharp increases from 1999 through the mid-2000s.  But unlike older adults, whose rates continued to increase, teenagers actually had a decline in drug overdose death rates through 2014, before an upturn in 2015.  All of this decline was for males as the rates for females stabilized from 2004-2013 before increasing again.


 

Q: Do we know why trends for teens dropped during the first several years of the millennium?  And why they increased sharply in 2015?

SC: There are many public health initiatives to combat the rising drug overdose death rates.  While we do not know the exact reason for the decline, we know the specific drugs that were involved—opioids, cocaine, and benzodiazepines.  For the opioids, it was the frequently prescribed drugs—methadone and natural and semisynthetic (oxycodone, morphine) that had declines for teens since the mid 2000s.  Other opioids such as heroin and synthetic opioids (including fentanyl) fluctuated but generally increased over the 1999-2915 study period.  The continued rise in drug overdose deaths involving heroin and synthetic opioids from 2014 to 2015 contributed to the uptick between those years.


 

Q: What are the differences in overdose deaths by gender and race?

SC: We did not examine race in this report because the numbers were too small for some groups.  By gender, the drug overdose death rate for males was higher for females for every year of the 1999-2015 period and was 70% higher in 2015.  While males had a greater increase in drug overdose death rates than females between 1999 and the mid-2000s, they also declined by about a third between 2007 and 2014 before increasing again.  The rate in 2015 was still lower than the 2007 peak.  Females had an increase, albeit smaller than for males, and then their rate stabilized between 2004-2013 before increasing again.


 

Q:  What type of drugs are killing these teens?

SC: As for the population at large, the majority of drug overdose deaths involve opioids.  When we examined the specific type of opioid involved, heroin is the leading drug involved and rose fairly steadily throughout the study period.  Synthetic opioids (including fentanyl) were lower than other opioid drugs through the early years of the period, but then doubled between 2014 and 2015.  This large increase for synthetic opioids has also been observed for the population at large.

We did not look at combinations of drugs.  Often, there is more than one drug involved so the categories we show are not mutually exclusive.


Antidepressant Use in Persons Aged 12 and Over: United States, 2011-2014

August 16, 2017

Questions for Laura Pratt, Psychiatric Epidemiologist and Author of “Antidepressant Use in Persons Aged 12 and Over: United States, 2011-2014

Q:  Are more people taking antidepressants now vs. in the past?

LP:   Yes, in our data brief, figure 4, you can see how antidepressant use has increased over time from 1999-2002 to 2011-2014.  Slightly less than 8% of the U.S. population took antidepressants in 1999-2002 while almost 13% took antidepressants in 2011-2014.  This is an increase of about 65%.  The rates of increase were similar for males and females, but twice as many females took antidepressants as males at all time points.


 

Q: Is there any particular age group in which antidepressant use is higher?

LP:   Among all persons and among females, antidepressant use was highest in persons 60 years of age and older.


 

Q:  Does this mean that rates of mental illness are on the rise?

LP:   Our report does not look at rates of mental illness.  But in general, prescription drug use is also related to healthcare access and utilization, and, in mental health particularly, many studies have shown high rates of under-treatment.  The situation with a large percent of people with depression, for example, not receiving treatment has improved over time.  Increases in healthcare utilization and treatment of depression would result in a higher rate of antidepressant use whether or not the rates of mental illness increased.


 

Q:  What are the risks or dangers of antidepressant use?

LP:   The first antidepressants that were available had many side effects and could cause overdose death.  The vast majority of overdose deaths related to these drugs were intentional (suicides). The newer antidepressants in use today have fewer side effects and have a much lower risk of overdose.  Antidepressants do not produce a “high” and are not drugs of abuse.


 

Q:  Any other findings you feel are noteworthy?

LP:   It was very noteworthy that non-Hispanic white persons ages 12 and older continue to have rates of antidepressant use that are between 3 and 5 x higher than persons in other race and Hispanic origin groups. I was also surprised to see that 25% of people who take an antidepressant have taken it for more than 10 years.  In our first antidepressant data brief, the percent of people taking an antidepressant for more than 10 years was 13.6%.  Interestingly, the percent of persons taking antidepressants who took them for more than 2 years was 61% in 2005-08 and increased to 68% in 2011-2014.


QuickStats: Percentage of Children and Teens Aged 5–17 Years Who Missed >10 School Days in the Past 12 Months Because of Illness or Injury, by Sex and Age — National Health Interview Survey, 2013–2015

July 7, 2017

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During 2013–2015, 3.9% of boys and 4.3% of girls missed >10 school days in the past 12 months because of illness or injury.

Among children aged 15–17 years, girls were more likely than boys to miss >10 school days (6.8% compared with 3.9%).

Among girls, those aged 15–17 years were more likely than girls aged 5–10 years and girls aged 11–14 years to miss >10 school days (6.8% compared with 3.2% and 4.0%, respectively).

Among boys, there was no difference by age.

Source: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/66/wr/mm6626a8.htm


Sexual Activity and Contraceptive Use Among Teenagers in the United States: 2011-2015

June 22, 2017

Questions for Joyce Abma, Ph.D., Social Scientist and Lead Author on “Sexual Activity and Contraceptive Use Among Teenagers in the United States: 2011-2015

Q: Is the bottom line here in this study that teens are less sexually active than in the past?

JA: Yes. Although this has changed very gradually, fewer teens have ever had sex than was the case three decades ago. In the late 1980s, just over half of female teens and 61% of male teens had had sex, and the most recent data through 2015 show this percent is well under half: 42% for females and 44% for males.- So males have had a particularly large decrease in the percent who have ever had sex during the teen years.

Over the past 3 decades, since 1988, the percent of teens who had ever had sex has been declining gradually. (decreasing from over half – 51% for females and 60% for males, to under half – 42% for females and 44% for males in 2011-15). Since 2002, however, the decline slowed and there has been no significant change for female or male teens. And this plateau continued through the most recent time period, 2011-2015.


Q: Are the teens of today also more likely to use contraception than past generations?

JA: Yes. Although even about 3 decades ago, in the late 1980s, contraceptive use was common among teens – for example 84% of males used a method at last sex in 1988 – they have become increasingly more likely since then. In the most recent data, 2011-2015, 95% of males used a contraceptive method at last sex. Related to this increase among females is another big change across the time period: the development and availability of a wider variety of contraceptives for females. These include Depo-Provera injectable, implants, emergency contraception, the patch, and more recently, the IUD has been re-designed and recommended for teens. These newer hormonal methods are starting to be used more commonly, but use of the pill remains common as well among female teens.


Q: With such a sensitive topic, do you meet with a lot of resistance in trying to collect this data?

JA Actually, the response rate for the survey is 70%, meaning of the people eligible for the survey, 70% agree to participate and complete it. Generally, people recognize the importance, validity and value of the survey. Those who participate tend to find it an interesting and positive experience. And many topics are covered, including some questions about education, health services, attitudes and opinions, questions about children, and relationships.


Q: Do these findings include teens with same-sex partners?

JA: No, this report covers only sexual intercourse with opposite-sex partners. The purpose of the report is primarily to understand risk behaviors for pregnancy among teens, thus the focus is only on opposite sex sexual activity.


Q: Any other important points of note?

JA: There are several interesting findings in this report, both in terms of sexual activity as well as contraceptive use among teens. For example, teens who had not yet had sex – which is over half of all teens — were asked to identify the main reason they hadn’t yet had sex, from 5 possible reasons. Female and male teens were very similar in the reasons they chose. Female and male teens both chose “against religion or morals”, followed by “don’t want to get (a female) pregnant”, and “haven’t found the right person yet” as the most common reasons. So female and male teens seem to be thinking along the same lines when considering the issue of not being sexually active.

As for contraceptive use, recently the IUD and contraceptive implants have been re-designed and are recommended by reproductive health professionals for teens to reduce the chances of pregnancy. These methods, referred to as “LARC” – for “long-acting reversible contraception”– are important because they offer protection for multiple years, they don’t require regular action on the part of the teen, and their failure rates are extremely low. These methods are still relatively rarely used among teens but are being used more often: 6% of teens had ever used either of these two methods as of the 2011-15 data.


QuickStats: Percentage of Children and Teens Aged 4–17 Years Ever Diagnosed with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), by Sex and Urbanization of County of Residence

June 19, 2017

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During 2013−2015, the percentage of children and teens aged 4–17 years who had ever received a diagnosis of ADHD was significantly higher among boys than among girls within all urbanization levels.

Among boys, those living in small metro and nonmetro micropolitan areas were more likely to have received a diagnosis of ADHD (17.4% and 16.4%, respectively) than were those living in large central (11.4%) and large fringe (12.7%) metropolitan areas.

Among girls, those living in large central areas were less likely to have received a diagnosis of ADHD (4.4%) than those living in each of the other five types of urban/rural areas.

Source: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/66/wr/mm6623a7.htm


Sexual Activity, Contraceptive Use, and Childbearing of Teenagers Aged 15–19 in the United States

July 22, 2015

Monitoring sexual activity and contraceptive use among U.S. adolescents is important for understanding differences in their risk of pregnancy. In 2013, the U.S. birth rate for teenagers aged 15–19 dropped 57% from its peak in 1991, paralleling a decline in the teen pregnancy rate. But these rates are still higher than those in other developed countries.

Using data from the 1988 to 2011–2013 National Survey of Family Growth, this report provides trends and recent national estimates of sexual activity, contraceptive use, and childbearing among teenagers aged 15–19.

Key Findings from the Report:

  • In 2011–2013, 44% of female teenagers and 47% of male teenagers aged 15–19 had experienced sexual intercourse; the percentage has declined significantly, by 14% for female and 22% for male teenagers, over the past 25 years.
  • In the early teen years males were more likely than females to have had sexual intercourse. But the percentage of older teenagers who had sexual intercourse was similar for female and male teenagers.
  • In 2011–2013, 79% of female teenagers and 84% of male teenagers used a contraceptive method at first sexual intercourse.
  • The condom remained the most common contraceptive method used among teenagers.
  • Young women who did not use a method of contraception at first sexual intercourse were twice as likely to become teen mothers as those who used a method.

 


Federal report on America’s children released

July 10, 2009

Federal interagency report shows declines in preterm birth and low birthweight. Children more likely to live in poverty, less likely to have parent employed full time.

These and other statistics have been compiled in America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2009. It is compiled by a number of federal agencies and provides a comprehensive picture of the following key areas of child well-being: family and social environment, economic circumstances, health care, physical environment and safety, behavior, education, and health.

To access the report, please visit www.childstats.gov