Drug overdose deaths have doubled among US teens from 2019 to 2021, according to figures released by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Overall teenage drug overdoses increased by 109%. However, officials have warned that this rise has been impacted significantly by the nationwide fentanyl crisis, with fentanyl-related deaths alone having increased by 182%.
Reports suggest that many US teens are dying after ingesting drugs (e.g. cocaine, Adderall, Xanax) that have been contaminated with illegally manufactured synthetic fentanyl.
While these overdoses are almost-always accidental, they are most commonly seen when teens purchase counterfeit pills and illegal drugs tainted with synthetic fentanyl.
A powerful opioid, legally-prescribed pharmaceutical fentanyl is typically used to treat patients experiencing extreme pain, usually after surgery. It has similar painkilling properties to morphine but is around 50 to 100 times more potent.
A nationwide fentanyl crisis
Fentanyl-related deaths have increased drastically across the US in recent years, prompting the CDC to issue a Health Alert Network Advisory to medical and public health professionals across the country, with the aim of expanding care and response activities for those suffering from substance user disorders or at risk of overdose.
Synthetic fentanyl is used by manufacturers of illicit drugs for its heroin-like effects and is often mixed with other substances including heroin and cocaine to increase its euphoric effects, without the user’s knowledge.
Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) Administrator, Anne Milgram, has described fentanyl as “the single deadliest drug threat our nation has ever encountered”.
“Drug traffickers are driving addiction, and increasing their profits, by mixing fentanyl with other illicit drugs,” said Milgram.
“Tragically, many overdose victims have no idea they are ingesting deadly fentanyl until it’s too late.”
Signs that your teen may be using drugs
These latest figures from the CDC will no doubt cause concern among parents who worry that their teens may be exposed to illicit substances.
As a parent, it is important to be aware of your child’s behavior. This will help ensure harmful habits are spotted early, and that you can get access to vital support services when your teen needs them most.
If you suspect that a young person you know might be misusing drugs, there are a few signs you can look out for that could indicate substance misuse, including:
- Altered behavior, such as an increased need for privacy
- Changes in physical appearance, such as a lack of interest in grooming and personal hygiene
- Difficulties in education (school, college), declining performance, disinterest
- Lack of energy
- Defensiveness when asked about substance use
- Changes in appetite
- Sudden weight gain or loss
- Spending more money than usual or asking to borrow more money
Home drug testing you can trust
Whether you have concerns about a teen misusing drugs, or simply want a test for other personal reasons, our peace of mind home drug test kits can help you rule out substance misuse or allow you to seek support for someone who is struggling.
AlphaBiolabs offers two options for home drug testing:
- Drug & Alcohol Nail Test – available from just $99, this easy-to-use kit allows you to test for drug and/or alcohol use, with only fingernail clipping or toenail clipping samples required. Simply collect your samples and return them to our accredited testing laboratory for 100% accurate results in 7-10 days.
- Home Urine Drug Test Kit (pack of 3) – available for $38.95 for a pack of 3 kits, our urine drug testing cup is a simple, fully integrated drug screening kit that can be used to test for drugs at home with only a urine sample required. Results can be read on the side of the cup in just 5 minutes.
Before ordering a home drug test, it is important to remember that there are many reasons why a child might appear withdrawn or despondent that have nothing to do with taking drugs.
For this reason, we would always recommend that you have an open and honest conversation with your child(ren) about your concerns, to get to the root cause of what might be troubling them.
Please be aware that our home drug testing kits are for peace of mind only. You can use these tests to get the answers you need, but the results cannot be used in legal proceedings or in court.
For more information, email our friendly and discreet Customer Services team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Home Drug & Alcohol Test Kits
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