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November 30, 2015

Report: Pa., N.J. rank among top 10 states for youth overdose deaths

A new report from Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) ranks Pennsylvania and New Jersey in the top 10 states in the U.S. for youth overdose deaths.

Averaging drug overdose deaths in people ages 12 to 25 in every state from 2011 to 2013, researchers ranked Pennsylvania and New Jersey fourth and sixth in the country, respectively.

In the past 12 years, drug overdose death rates have more than doubled in 18 states, including New Jersey, the report said. 

New Jersey had a rate of 10.7 deaths per 100,000 youth, ages 12 to 25, while Pennsylvania had a rate of 11.8 deaths per 100,000 youth. The national rate is 7.3 deaths per 100,000.

New Jersey was one of only two states that received full marks on the report card with a complete score of 10. 

The scores were based on 10 key indicators of "leading evidence-based policies and programs that can improve the well-being of children and youth and have been connected with preventing and reducing substance— alcohol, tobacco or other drugs—misuse."

Pennsylvania scored seven out of 10. Nearly half of the states scored a five or lower.

"More than 90 percent of adults who develop a substance use disorder began using before they were 18," Jeffrey Levi, executive director of TFAH, said in a statement. 

"Achieving any major reduction in substance misuse will require a reboot in our approach – starting with a greater emphasis on preventing use before it starts, intervening and providing support earlier and viewing treatment and recovery as a long-term commitment."

See the full report here.

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