In the wake of the latest report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showing an increase of over 19 percent in opioid-related deaths among teenagers, the Rosenthal Center for Addiction Studies has sought a major expansion of drug treatment for adolescents in the United States. The Rosenthal Center stressed on the need of more efforts by federal and state governments to curb the rising use of prescription painkillers, heroin and fentanyl by the youth.
Elucidating the adverse impact of teen opioid abuse in the country, Dr. Mitchell Rosenthal, President of the Rosenthal Center, said, “The rise in teen exposure to opioids is particularly disturbing because of the vulnerability of these young people. The onset of addiction is frequently in childhood, and drug use at this age can cast a shadow over the rest of a person’s life. We must intervene now to make sure teens exposed to opioids today do not become tomorrow’s fatality statistics.”
Experts at the Center said that renewed focus was needed for development of addiction recovery centers across the nation to treat addicted teenagers. This had to be in addition to federal agencies’ re-established attempts to deal with the rising use of heroin, fentanyl and prescription opioids. Their recommendations come in the wake of rising teen overdose cases that indicate the ease with which dangerous drugs can be accessed and abused.
It is imperative to set up teenage drug abuse treatment centers, as existing adult treatment programs may not meet specific requirements of drug-dependent adolescents, experts have argued. Teen drug rehabs must allow scope for behavioral recovery therapies and guidance from those who have recovered from their addiction problems to lead a drug-free life. Support of family cannot be ruled out and, hence, treatment centers must have scope for greater involvement by loved ones to ensure adequate and complete recovery. In addition, physicians emphasize the need for greater availability of residential programs.
More teen drug treatment centers needed
According to the new CDC data, drug overdoses claimed 772 teens aged 15-19 in 2015 as against 658 a year before, reversing a 26 percent fall in the overdose deaths between 2007 and 2014. The CDC data also shows a sharp 34 percent increase in overdose deaths among teenage girls between 2013 and 2015.
The CDC findings are significant considering the lack of necessary drug treatment facilities needed to cater to specific needs for adolescents across the nation. “What we need is a huge increase in adolescent treatment in the United States. These are our most vulnerable citizens. Drug treatment for teens should be a national priority,” Rosenthal added.
Timely treatment for opioid addiction helps
The effects of drug abuse are manifold and tremendously increase the burden on existing health care facilities, workplaces, families and states. Indulgence in any kind of drugs, including opioids, has adverse effects on the brain. Continual and excessive use of prescription medicines can turn into an irreversible opioid use disorder that may further exacerbate drug abuse problems.
As a leading mental and behavioral health care provider in the country, Sovereign Health understands the plight of a teenager suffering from an addiction to harmful drugs, including prescription opioid medications. Our Rancho San Diego facility makes available a host of necessary treatment procedures and behavioral therapies for its patients. For more information, call our 24/7 helpline number. You may also chat online with one of our representatives for expert advice about recovery options available for addicted teenagers and youth.