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Report: Juvenile overdose deaths on the rise in Michigan

Nov 25, 2015

Credit e-Magine Art / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

A new report from the Trust for America's Health says drug overdose deaths among juveniles in Michigan tripled within a decade.

According to the report, the rate of overdose deaths in Michigan between 1999 and 2001 was 2.1 percent for every 100,000 people between 12 and 25-years-old.

By 2011 to 2013, that jumped to 8.1 percent for every 100,000 juveniles.

The numbers are grim, but not surprising.

Andrew Fortunato, executive director of Families Against Narcotics, said the increase goes "hand in hand" with an increased availability of prescription pain killers.

"The amount of prescription narcotics that are available to young people has risen dramatically," Fortunato said.

"They're literally in everybody's medicine cabinet, and people don't view that necessarily as a problem until something happens," he said.

Last summer, Governor Rick Snyder appointed a task force to address the state's growing prescription drug abuse problem.

The task force laid out its recommendations in a report last month. They include an overhaul of the state's prescription drug monitoring system and better access to drugs that reverse overdoses.