TFAH Releases Issue Brief Detailing Alcohol, Drug, and Suicide Trends Among Millennial Generation

The Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) this week released an issue brief as part of its continuation of Pain in the Nation: The Drug, Alcohol, and Suicide Crises series. In 2017, more than 152,000 Americans died from alcohol- and drug-induced fatalities and suicide, the highest number ever recoded and more than twice as many as in 1999. While these deaths have affected all age groups and communities, the impact on individuals in their 20s and early 30s has been particularly pronounced, according to the latest TFAH report.

Notably, the number of drug deaths among young adults has increased by 400 percent during the last two decades, largely fueled by the ongoing opioid crisis. Drug deaths accounted for nearly seven deaths per 100,000 people nationally across all age groups in 1999. By 2017, that number increased to 22.7 deaths per 100,000 across all age groups. For young adults ages 18-34 in 2017, there were nearly 31 drug-overdose deaths per 100,000 people. Alcohol death rates for young adults increased 69 percent between 2007 and 2017, and suicide deaths for the same age group and same years increased 35 percent.

The TFAH report details the combination of challenges unique to the Millennial Generation, including the opioid crisis, skyrocketing costs of education and housing, and entering the workforce during the Great Recession. The report goes on to discuss the urgent need for evidence-based policies and programs, including a National Resilience Strategy, to help stem the national tidal wave of deaths of despair. The full TFAH report is available here.