The rise in opioid misuse rate has mostly been reported among adolescents and those stepping into early adulthood, making it imperative to look for solutions to tackle opioid use disorder among these vulnerable groups.
Looking at the impact of opioid abuse on the younger generation, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)’s Committee on Substance Abuse and Prevention recently released a policy statement, urging doctors to look for necessary resources encouraging medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction. The initiative is the result of rampant use of opioid medications by teenagers and young adults for non-medical reasons between 1991 and 2012 that rose by more than two times.
Looking at medication-assisted intervention for addiction
The researchers also observed other grave health outcomes resulting from intravenous drug use like endocarditis, abscesses and infectious diseases like Hepatitis C. A slew of guidelines titled “Medication-Assisted Treatment of Adolescents With Opioid Use Disorders” was released in August 2016, indicating development of new treatments for adolescents and young adults reeling under the impact of opioid use disorder and dependence. The AAP appealed to doctors to recommend buprenorphine or other medications that treat opioid addiction in younger patients. Addiction can alter the structure and functioning of brain. And teenage brain is still developing, thus, addiction during this phase can impact their brain more.
The guidelines aim at addressing issues that may affect youth seeking help from primary care practices for their addiction problems. Some of these issues include:
- insufficiency of necessary resources made available for medication-assisted treatment;
- inefficient use of counseling services aimed at tackling substance use disorder;
- negative attitude of physicians toward medication-assisted treatment procedures.
Most treatment centers use medication like methadone, naltrexone and buprenorphine to treat extreme cases of opioid use disorder. Taking cues from previous studies, the scientists said that the number of adolescents and young adults put on medication-assisted treatment for opioid abuse was less than the number of adults seeking recovery through medication for severe opioid use disorder.
The following guidelines were suggested by the AAP:
- the increase in accessibility to resources intended to treat opioid-addicted adolescents using medication-based therapeutic interventions
- necessity of pediatricians to offer treatments to their young patients severely affected by opioid addiction or refer them to other professionals
- need to focus more on development of research aimed at “developmentally appropriate treatment” of disorders resulting from opioid addiction.
Driving people to seek treatment for opioid dependence
Combating opioid addiction is a major challenge for health care practitioners in the U.S. According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, 467,000 adolescents used painkillers for non-medical purposes in 2014. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) indicated that young people aged between 18 and 25 years were the biggest abusers of prescription painkillers in America. In 2014, non-medical use of prescription painkillers was observed to be the highest among young adults.
People tend to use medication in a manner not prescribed by any medical care practitioner. The tendency to share opioids among friends and family members and inappropriate method of storing excess painkillers have contributed to the uninhibited rise in opioid addiction.
Road to recovery
Looking at the increase in the death rate due to drug overdose across U.S. states, it is important to seek immediate professional help. If you know someone who is addicted to prescription drugs, contact the Prescription Drug Abuse Helpline to find the top prescription drug abuse treatment centers in U.S.A. One should not delay the treatment as it can worsen the situation. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-450-1557 or chat online with our representatives to know more about the best prescription drug abuse treatment centers in your locality.