Benzodiazepine and Stimulant Prescriptions Before Overdose in Youth

Greta Bushnell, Hillary Samples, Tobias Gerhard, Diane P. Calello, Mark Olfson

Published Year: 04/01/2022

In 2019, 4777 youth died of a drug overdose in the United States.1 Seven-hundred and twenty-seven youth died of overdoses involving benzodiazepines (BZDs) and 902 from overdoses involving psychostimulants.2 Opioid-related overdose deaths frequently involve other substances, and in youth, stimulants and BZDs are the most commonly involved substances.3 Overdoses can involve prescription drugs accessed through medical prescriptions or through illicit means. Among persons aged 18 to 25 years, 5.8% report past-year prescription stimulant misuse and 3.8% prescription BZD misuse.4

To inform overdose prevention efforts, we determined how often youth with medically treated overdoses involving BZDs and stimulants had recent BZD or stimulant prescriptions.

We included youth (15–24 years) from the MarketScan commercial claims database who experienced an overdose involving stimulants or BZDs (January 01, 2016 to December 31, 2018). MarketScan covers privately insured individuals and captures diagnoses and procedures from inpatient and outpatient visits and dispensed…