A new Stateline analysis shows that U.S. residents under 40 were relatively unscathed by COVID-19 in the pandemic but fell victim to another killer: accidental drug overdose deaths.
Death rates in the age group were up by nearly a third in 2021 over 2018, and last year were still 21% higher.
COVID-19 was a small part of the increase, causing about 23,000 deaths total between 2018 and 2022 in the age group, which includes the millennial generation (born starting in the early 1980s), Generation Z (born starting in the late ’90s) and children. Vehicle accidents and suicide (about 96,000 each) and gun homicide (about 65,000) all took a cumulative toll from 2018 to 2022, according to a Stateline analysis of federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.
Overdose deaths, however, took almost 177,000 lives in that time.
Accidental overdose became the No. 1 cause of death in 13 states for people under 40, overtaking suicide in nine states and vehicle accidents in five others; it’s now the top cause in 37 states. The only other change was in Mississippi, where homicide became the main cause of death, overtaking car accidents. In 40 states and the District of Columbia, overdose was the biggest increase in deaths for young people.
Read the full article on the NC Newsline website.