Home News Childrens Health News 321,566 Children Lost a Parent to Drug Overdose in 2011 to 2021

321,566 Children Lost a Parent to Drug Overdose in 2011 to 2021

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Highest rates seen among children of non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Native individuals

By Elana Gotkine HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, May 8, 2024 (HealthDay News) — From 2011 to 2021, an estimated 321,566 children lost a parent to drug overdose in the United States, according to a study published online May 8 in JAMA Psychiatry.

Christopher M. Jones, Pharm.D., Dr.P.H., M.P.H., from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in Rockville, Maryland, and colleagues estimated the number and rate of children who have lost a parent to drug overdose from 2011 to 2021 in a cross-sectional study of U.S. community-dwelling persons.

The researchers found that 649,599 adults aged 18 to 64 years died from a drug overdose from 2011 to 2021. An estimated 321,566 community-dwelling children lost a parent ages 18 to 64 years due to drug overdose among these decedents. From 2011 to 2021, there was an increase seen in the rate of community-dwelling children who lost a parent to drug overdose, from 27.0 to 63.1 per 100,000. The highest rates were seen among children of non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Native individuals (187.1 per 100,000 versus 76.5 and 73.2 among non-Hispanic White and non-Hispanic Black individuals, respectively). For all parental age, sex, and race and ethnicity groups, rates increased consistently each year, but the largest average annual percent change occurred in non-Hispanic Black parents aged 18 to 25 years (23.8 percent).

“Program and policy planning should ensure that responses to the overdose crisis integrate the full burden of drug overdose on families and children, including the economic, social, educational, and physical and behavioral health care needs of children who have lost parents to overdose,” the authors write.

One author reported long-term stock holdings from General Electric, 3M Companies, and Pfizer.

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