Addressing the rising overdose problem


Brian spoke with Dr. John Dyben, Chief Clinical Officer from Origins Recovery Center about increasing deaths of young people. Dyben has infinite expertise when it comes to addictions and he shares some of the reasons why drugs, alcohol, and suicide are related to young deaths. Earlier this week, we spoke with East Baton Rouge Coroner, Dr. B. Beau Clark about recent spike in overdoses and suicides; especially among millennials and CCO Dr. John Dyben continues with his expertise on this topic.

Why are we seeing an increase in drug deaths among millennials?

In the past few years, we have seen an increase in deaths of young people related to alcohol, drugs, and suicide but we don’t know what goes behind those facts. According to Dyben, there are two main things to take into considerations. The first reason is that drugs are very easily accessed. Nicotine is one of the most commonly used; it contains nitrogen made by several types of plans including tobacco plants. It is possible to have both sedative and stimulant effects and they are released as adrenaline and then they stimulate the body. Younger generations that start consuming this, unconsciously wire the brain to become addicted to it and in turn, into a disease that opens them up to further addiction that potentially ends in death.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, there are more than 70,200 drug overdose deaths in the U.S, and among these, 47,600 involved opioids. The age-adjusted rate of drug overdose deaths increased dramatically in Louisiana by 21.8 percent from 2016 to the present. Most of the deaths from drug overdose since 2017 have involved opioids in Louisiana. The rate for opioid prescriptions in Louisiana was ranked among the top five in the United States. Louisiana is ranked one of the top 10 states for rates in several drug-use categories including nicotine, marijuana, cocaine, heroin, among others.

The second reason to evaluate is that younger generations are not developing enough skills to connect with other people. The only connection that we see nowadays in the youth is through social media but in reality, it is not considered a real connection. The use of social media, in our culture, has made people lose the ability to truly connect with others. Nowadays the primary path of connection is social media.

There are currently 3.48 billion social media users. 88% of Americans from 18 to 29 years old use social -in-media on a daily basis. According to the Pew Research center, seven-in-ten Americans use social media to connect with others, engage with news, share information or even entertain themselves. 4.66 million make up the population in Louisiana, and 3,071,973 people are active in internet and social media

Dyben mentions that as a culture, what we believe about things really matter. In the end, if people don’t realize or believe that the use of drugs and social media are damaging then everything will remain the same. It is dangerous being able to use social media but not being able to look at the eyes of others and truly connect. “It is all about what we do as a culture and what we do about it”, said Dr. John Dyben.

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