‘Grief has no expiration date’: Evidence shows youth gunshots increase mental health & drug disorders

From NBCWashington comes this story on the link between gun violence and drug use and mental health issues among youth: 

“Gun violence is now the leading cause of death for children and adolescents in the United States according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

On Monday, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser declared two public emergencies — one on the opioid crisis, the other on juvenile crime. 

According to the city, 97 juveniles suffered gunshot wounds between January and October of this year, including 15 homicides. That’s a  9% increase from the same period in 2022.

It’s a crisis that’s spiked in the nation’s capital – with close to 100 juveniles shot this year. Seventeen-year-old Kanihya Glover, a student at Duke Ellington School of the Arts, has felt the impact of young lives lost.

‘I was actually in sixth grade when that happened. I get to my grandmother’s house and I saw it is on the news,’ she told the I-Team. ‘And it says this teen killed in triple shooting.’

It was her cousin, Damoni Gaither. He was the first of three people she lost in the past five-and-a-half years to D.C.’s gun violence. . . . 

She could also see the grief and dread and depression spread.

‘People who lose a family member or friend, they’re also gun violence victims in that sense,’ she said.

There’s new evidence to prove that. Doctors now believe when kids are shot, it affects families of victims – even if they survive – in measurable and devastating ways. ‘Firearm injuries ripple through families and communities with important clinical effects. Even for those who did not sustain the firearm injury themselves. This includes mothers, fathers and siblings,’ explained Dr. Zirui Song with Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital.

According to his just-published research, children and adolescents who survived their firearm injuries experienced a 68% increase in psychiatric disorders within the first year following their gunshot injuries. Moms and dads experienced a 30% increase in mental health disorders and at least a 15% increase in substance use disorders. Young survivors, according to Song, experienced a 114% increase in substance use disorders.”

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