How to Protect Kids From Prescription Opioid Abuse

How to Protect Kids From Prescription Opioid AbuseAmericans consist of less than 5 percent of the world’s population, but consume 80 percent of the world’s prescription opioids. Individuals who are at high risk for potential opioid abuse include those who have received a prescription for opioid painkillers, as well as children and teenagers who may come into contact with unsecured opioids in their home.

When children and teens take prescription opioids, sometimes by accident, sometimes intentionally, it often ends with tragic consequences. Even when consumed legally and safely, prescription opioids can still have a negative impact on individuals and families throughout the U.S.

Initial Prescription of Opioid Painkillers Affects Likelihood of Later Opioid Abuse

Nearly every prescription opioid addiction starts with a prescription, but how much does that first prescription relate to an individual’s chances of becoming addicted? A report issued by the CDC tried to look for answers. It found that people who use opioids for one day have a six percent chance of continuing to use them a year later.

That risk for long-term use jumps to 13 percent (more than double) after eight days of opioid use. In contrast, patients who are given month-long prescriptions for opioids had a 30 percent chance of continuing to use them 12 months later. Overall, this means that the first prescription a doctor writes a patient can seriously affect their chances of becoming a long term user.

Children and Teens of Different Ages Face Different Kinds of Opioid Abuse Dangers

Children and teens of different ages face different kinds of risks when it comes to opioid abuse, according to a recently published study in the journal Pediatrics. Children age five and younger are most likely to ingest opioids accidentally while playing. This is referred to as “exploratory exposure.” In contrast, children between ages six and 12, are most likely to consume opioids through medication errors, such as being given the wrong medication or being given the correct medication at the wrong dose. Despite the many risks at these age groups, the highest level of risk is likely to come later, in an individual’s teenage years.

Teenagers between 13 and 19 are most likely to intentionally abuse opioids. Sometimes they do it  to experience the ‘high,’ and other times as a self-harm attempt. Opioids and teen self-harm are following a disturbing statistical trend. According to the same study, suspected opioid-related suicides among teenagers rose 53 percent between 2000 and 2015.

In addition to segmenting opioid abuse risks by age group, the Pediatrics study also found that a shocking one quarter of high school seniors have tried opioids either medically or recreationally. This means that there are tens of millions of young people in America that are incredibly vulnerable to the disease of addiction, and greater measures need to be taken to make sure they do not fall victim to substance abuse or become addicted to these medications.

To fully protect children across America, mental health resources and educational efforts need to be increased in scope, and, perhaps just as importantly, doctors need to make sure they’re responsible prescribing opioids and educating parents and kids about their risks.

Opioid Addiction Treatment Programs at an Accredited Drug Rehab Center

At Get Treatment, we understand how difficult it can be to live with an opioid addiction. For that reason, our goal is to help you find the right treatment center for you. We can get you into a top-rated and accredited treatment facility that meets your needs for recovery. You will be given an individualized treatment plan that combines traditional and holistic therapies. From medical detox all the way through aftercare support, we will be there for you through every step of the rehabilitation process.

In addition to prioritizing individual and small group care, each of our addiction treatment centers focuses on teaching patients the skills and techniques they need to cope with stressors in a healthy way and succeed in their goal of long-term sobriety. So, if you or someone you care about is suffering from addiction to prescription opioids or other drugs, pick up the phone today. Help and hope, is only one phone call away.

drug and alcohol treatment center that will help you get your life back from addiction, call Get Treatment today at 855-638-9268.

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Erica Loret de Mola

Erica Loret de Mola is a communications major who has been writing about addiction treatment for approximately three years. As content manager and editor in chief of Get Treatment, she strives to provide the most accurate and current information available to our clients.


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