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Study Tracks Opioid Use Increase Among Young Adults

opioid abuseRecently, there has been some indication that general prescription painkiller abuse is starting to decline. Many addiction experts attribute this to increased efforts to educate and prevent painkiller abuse throughout the country, as well as tighter restrictions on drug availability and distribution.

However, a recent study conducted by researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health found that is more probable that more young adults are developing prescription opioid use disorders. The results of the study were published in the journal Addictive Behaviors. These findings indicate that a more impactful form of intervention be used in addition to the methods listed above.

“Our analyses present the evidence to raise awareness and urgency to address these rising and problematic trends among young adults. While increases in prescription opioid use disorder might be rooted in health policy, medical practice, pharmaceutical industry interests, and patient behavior, it is critical that the general public, particularly youth, are informed about the related harms and disorders that can occur when prescription opioids are used without regular medical supervision,” explained Silvia Martins, MD, PhD, and one of the authors of the study.

The researchers focused attention on teens and young adults who were nonmedical users of prescription opioids, and included tracking what percentages went on to use heroin. In order to perform their study, they gathered data from the 2002 to 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). One example of the of their findings includes the fact that young adults saw their chances of developing an opioid abuse disorder during that time more than double from 11 percent to 24 percent.

Despite the good news of a potential decline in these statistics after 2014, we must continue to increase our efforts as a nation to help save the lives of teens and young adults who are prone to becoming addicted to painkillers and heroin. If you have a loved one in need of help, contact Intervention Services today for assistance.

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