School and job failure may increase drug users’ chances of a fatal overdose

Drug users who have dropped out of school or have failed in a job are more likely to die of an overdose according to new research conducted by the University of Luxembourg. This is the first time that researchers have found a link between unsuccessful education and/or employment and the likelihood of a drug overdose. "Overdose victims are roughly twice as likely to have failed to finish secondary school successfully and one-and-a-half times more likely to be unemployed than problem drug users who are still alive," said Alain Origer, lead researcher and Luxembourg's National Drug Coordinator.

The elaborate study took place over a period of seventeen years (1994-2011). Researchers studied and followed the lives of 1,300 drug users in an area of Luxembourg known as the Grand Duchy. The participants of this study who had problems with drug use were users of opiates, mostly heroin and cocaine. This one of a kind study was an in depth analysis of addicts and the factors in their lives that contributed to their drug use and their sometimes fatal overdoses. This research also came to the conclusion that there is no link between the professional status of parents and the probability that their problem drug-using child will die from an overdose. The researchers hope that this study can be used to further inform education programmes as well as professional training programme in order to reduce the rate of fatal overdoses.