US Teen Opioid Deaths Rising But Fewer Getting Treatment

The opioid crisis in the USA continues to deepen among young people in the USA, but fewer of them are being prescribed medication and the drug rehab treatment they need according to government statistics.

The study found that in the years between 2015 and 2020, the number of teenagers receiving buprenorphine prescriptions, a drug used to help combat addiction to opioids, has fallen by a staggering 45%.

Many experts have noted how concerning this is, with Dr Andrew Terranella, a lead researcher at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stating, “In the context of rising rates of opioid-involved overdose deaths, these data really underscore the important work that still needs to be done to better understand the reasons for low prescribing.”

Check the news reports daily, and you see the crisis is working, with there not a day going by where there isn’t another opioid overdose death in the headlines, largely due to the rise of fentanyl, a drug that is significantly more potent than heroin.

The drug is proving an appealing substance to young adults and teenagers in particular, and is rife in colleges as the pressure on exams and the stresses of adolescence continues to increase due to the likes of social media.

However, while the volume of people taking substances is increasing, the concern is also with the lack of people seeking treatment.

Buprenorphine is a drug that works by helping quell cravings and withdrawal symptoms and is most successful while also going through rehab treatment. It can be administered as a tablet for swallowing, an implant or through injections.

It’s believed the barriers for receiving the methods of administration, however, are the main cause in fewer people taking up treatment options, with a number of obstacles in place.

Many medical professionals have been keen to point this out and there are calls to remove some of the red tape across various states to make treatment drugs and programs more accessible to all.

President Biden has also taken steps to try and improve the situation by removing barriers, allowing clinicians to prescribe buprenorphine and allow anyone suffering to get the treatment much more easily.

Many charities are also reaching out to parents to be more involved in encouraging treatment and being part of that process for youngsters suffering from addiction, helping remove the stigma and providing the support many need during such a difficult time.

It’ll be interesting to see just how well the new legislation will work in encouraging those suffering from opioid addiction to get the help they need, but there’s a long way to go and a lot more work to do before the crisis becomes anywhere near being under control.