Few Young People Get Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioids

Although the United States is going through an opioid crisis, too few pediatricians and family doctors are trained in how to appropriately address and treat opioid addiction. Treating teenagers can be difficult enough, but those addicted to such volatile substances can become an even bigger danger to themselves and others if they aren’t getting to right help to come off the drugs.

Poor Drug Treatment for Young People

Medication Assistance

A new study has found that only 27 percent of youths treated for opioid addiction receive medication; known as medication-assisted treatment. Buprenorphine (Suboxone) has been shown to reduce cravings, while naltrexone (Revia and Vivitrol) blocks the high from opioids. The aforementioned medications are considered the evidence-based standard of care for opioid addiction by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Climbing Rates of Addiction

Between 2001 and 2014, the rate of opioid addiction among teens and young adults shot up almost sixfold (JAMA Pediatrics). Deaths from heroin increased 328 percent 2010 to 2015, other types of opioid-related deaths have been climbing the charts in the past few years as well.

What Can Help End This Crisis?

Many teen’s doctors will shrug off the thought that they have a drug addiction, taking it as extremely moody “teen” behavior and taking a few of their parent’s painkillers. it is likely much more than that. If pediatricians and family doctors had programs to ensure that they receive the proper training they could give better referrals for treatment and help parents and kids talk about it.

Attention Parents

It’s hard to believe your child could be addicted to opioids and watching them withdrawal is painful — but not as painful as they have it. Getting them help through medication-assisted treatment will help with cravings and give them a clearer head when it comes to talking to counselors, choosing treatment, etc.

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