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December 3, 2015

Despite being one of only two states that seem to be doing everything right when it comes to policies that should prevent overdose deaths in middle- and high-school students, New Jersey ranked 6th in a recent report among states when it came to overdose deaths among those between 12 and 25 years of age.

A recent report by the Trust for America’s Health showed the rate of overdoses for New Jersey youths jumped between 2011 and 2013, with a rate of 10.7 out of 100,000.

The bulk of those overdoses seemed to occur to young people already out of high school and between the ages of 19 and 25. Those youths between the ages of 12 and 18 had only a 1.9 per 100,000 overdose mortality rate, while those 19 to 25 had a rate of 20 per 100,000.

The report set out indicators that it said reflected the rate of overdoses, which included high-school graduation rates; funding and screening for mental health issues; prevention programs for smoking, bullying, alcohol abuse, prescription misuse, and juvenile sentencing reform -- among others. New Jersey was only one of two states -- the other being Minnesota, which ranked 39th in terms of mortality -- that was praised in all 10 categories. However, many of New Jersey’s programs focus on teenagers and most of the mortality cases occurred to those older than 19.

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