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Trends and Pattern of Drug Abuse Deaths in Maryland Teenagers

Authors

  • Ling Li M.D.,

    1. Key Laboratory of Evidence Science, China University of Political Science and Law, 100080 Beijing, China.
    2. Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, State of Maryland, 111 Penn Street, Baltimore, MD.
    3. Department of Pediatrics, University of Maryland School of Medicine, 22 South Greene Street, Baltimore, MD.
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  • Xiang Zhang M.D.,

    1. Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, State of Maryland, 111 Penn Street, Baltimore, MD.
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  • Berry Levine Ph.D.,

    1. Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, State of Maryland, 111 Penn Street, Baltimore, MD.
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  • Guohua Li M.D., Dr.P.H.,

    1. Department of Anesthesiology, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, NY.
    2. Department of Epidemiology, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY.
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  • H. Ronald Zielke Ph.D.,

    1. Department of Pediatrics, University of Maryland School of Medicine, 22 South Greene Street, Baltimore, MD.
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  • David R. Fowler M.D.

    1. Key Laboratory of Evidence Science, China University of Political Science and Law, 100080 Beijing, China.
    2. Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, State of Maryland, 111 Penn Street, Baltimore, MD.
    3. Department of Pediatrics, University of Maryland School of Medicine, 22 South Greene Street, Baltimore, MD.
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Additional information and reprint requests:
Ling Li, M.D.
Department of Pediatrics
University of Maryland School of Medicine
655 W. Baltimore Street, BRB 13-013
Baltimore, MD 21201
E-mail: Ling001@aol.com

Abstract

Abstract:  The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of Maryland recorded a total of 149 drug abuse deaths of teenagers aged 13–19 years between 1991 and 2006. Of these deaths, 96 (64.4%) were caused by the use of narcotic drugs only, 29 (19.5%) by both narcotics and cocaine, four (2.7%) by both narcotics and methylenedioxymethamphetamine, six (4.0%) by cocaine only, and 14 (9.4%) by volatile substances (e.g., butane, Freon, nitrous oxide, and propane). The annual death rate from drug abuse for teenagers increased from 1.4 deaths per 100,000 population in 1991 to 2.7 deaths per 100,000 population in 2006 (chi-square test for time trend, p < 0.01). The increase in teenager drug abuse deaths occurred in 1999 and since has remained at a higher rate. Further analysis revealed that the increase in drug abuse deaths was attributable to a large degree to narcotic drugs, particularly heroin/morphine and methadone, and was confined to teenagers residing in the suburban and rural areas.

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