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Younger adult overdoses on the rise in Virginia

September 21, 2016
by Tom Valentino, Senior Editor
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Fatal overdoses are on the rise in Virginia since 2007, and adults ages 25 to 44 accounted for more than half of all overdose-related deaths from 2007 to 2014, according to research published this week by the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Treatment experts attribute the deaths of those in the 25-to-44 age bracket to genetic predisposition to substance abuse and easier access to prescription painkillers that does not exist for those in the 15-to-19 age range.

At least 1,066 deaths in Virginia in a 15-month period ending in March have been attributed to drug overdoses. Overall, an estimated 7,400 people died of drug overdoses in Virginia from 2007 to 2015, nearly three-quarters of which took prescription painkillers, heroin or other opioids.

Research shows people ages 25 to 34 who overdosed on prescription painkillers died at six times the rate of those in the 15-to-19 age bracket.