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09-12 National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month: Comprehensive strategy needed to deal with opioid abuse in teenagers

National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month: Comprehensive strategy needed to deal with opioid abuse in teenagers

The opioid crisis has been ravaging the United States for the past few years. Studies have shown that teenagers are more vulnerable to opioid addiction due to a combination of factors. A look at the statistics by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), reveals a high nonmedical use of prescription opioids by teenagers. The NIDA data also shows that 70 percent of adolescent nonmedical users combine opioid painkillers with other drugs and/or alcohol, which puts them at greater risk of overdose.

President Donald Trump recently declared the opioid crisis a national emergency to fight the rising number of deaths due to overdoses. In August 2017, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shared details about how the overdose death rate among teens aged 15 to 19 years rose by 19 percent between 2014 and 2015. The numbers underscore how addictive habits find their way into the lives of adolescents and young adults across the country.

Federal agencies and health care providers involved in designing an effective overdose strategy need to take into account the factors that cause adolescents to take drugs. Experts feel that any policy for the crisis needs to consider factors responsible for the spike in opioid consumption among teens. In addition, the focus should be on making recovery options more accessible.

The 21st Century Cures Act signed into law on Dec. 13, 2016, allows for disbursement of $1 billion to states over a period of two years to address the opioid addiction, but its provisions do not focus much on measures to curtail addictive habits among teenagers or services dedicated to treatment for their addiction problems. Though community workers and health advocates, in conjunction with federal agencies, frequently carry out prescription monitoring programs and awareness campaigns to educate teenagers about the pervasiveness of drug dependence across the nation, there is a need to relook at considerations influencing teen opioid experimentation behavior.

Early opioid abuse lead to lifelong addiction problems 

The research conducted in this area reveals that often teenagers get access to prescription drugs easily thus enabling them to misuse it. Some pain relievers are available over the counter and can be easily procured. Besides, most teens have reported that they get them from friends and families. Dependence on such opioids fuels the need for frequent doses, forcing teens to look for cheap and easily available drugs like heroin. Their addictive behavior, if not checked and treated timely, may result in lifelong addiction. Researchers have suggested how those who start abusing opioids at an early stage are more likely to develop an addiction later.

Physicians suggest that any effective opioid strategy is incomplete unless it ensures availability and easy accessibility of evidence-based treatment options for teenagers with signs of addiction. Treatment options must include efficacious medicines, including buprenorphine, methadone and naltrexone, similar to treatment programs for adults. Friends and loved ones must not overlook symptoms that highlight possible addiction to any kind of drug. Timely intervention can avert potential teenagers from losing themselves to addiction.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that pediatricians provide medication-assisted treatment to teenagers and young adults afflicted with severe opioid use disorder. In a study published online in the journal JAMA Pediatrics in June 2017, researchers revealed how within six months of being detected with opioid use disorder, just 27 percent of teenage patients were advised buprenorphine and naltrexone.

Saving teens from grip of opioid abuse

Appropriate treatment is necessary for recovery. Keeping this in view, President Trump proclaimed September 2017 as the “National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month.” Addiction to prescription opioids can be treated with timely medical intervention. Experts at Sovereign Health are equally keen to relieve teenagers suffering from addiction problems. Our treatment centers in California make available a host of necessary treatment procedures and behavioral therapies for patients. For more information about our teen rehab centers, call our 24/7 helpline number. You may chat online with one of our representatives for expert advice about recovery from teen drug abuse in your vicinity.

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