Opioids, Teens, Young Adults; The Addiction Crisis is Real
The addiction crisis is real More and more, teens and young adults are reported showing up in the Emergency Room for treatment, but not for an addiction. Today.com reported, “Most of the youths are not showing up because they’re addicted, researchers said in a research document for an annual meeting of pediatricians. They are coming in for some other reason and doctors are discovering they are also addicted to or dependent on opioids.”
Dr. Veerajalandhar Allareddy, a medical director of the pediatric intensive care unit at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital, said, though the opioid crisis with adults has been a mainstream issue that is well-known, now for the first time the same problem exists in the pediatric age group.
“In our opinion, for sure this appears to be the tip of the iceberg,” Allareddy voiced to NBC News. “Probably this is underestimated because we have looked only at the kids who come into the emergency department. We don’t know what’s happening at the clinic level and also the urgent care—also those kids who get admitted into the hospital for other reasons.”
Allareddy and his team researched a database of insurance payments made to emergency departments from 2008 to 2013. They discovered 32,235 children and young adults under the age of 21 were diagnosed with some kind of opioid dependency at an ER in 2008. And by 2013, that number had risen to 49,626. Most were in the ages 18 to 21.
According to a study published in the journal “Pediatrics,” researchers found a strong link between teens taking the drugs for medical reasons and then later taking them for “non-medical” related reasons. “One consistent finding we observed over the past two decades is that the majority of non-medical users of prescription opioids also have a history of medical use of prescription opioids,” said Sean McCabe, who is a research professor at the University of Michigan.
The CDC claims most people who end up addicted to opioids first took one as a legitimate prescription. The challenge is in that it can be difficult for doctors, who are prescribing and just trying to relieve suffering. But the CDC is attempting to get doctors to avoid opioids as best as they can; to look to other pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, ice and even relaxation techniques, and if they must prescribe an opioid, to give a low dose for the shortest time.
Dr. Purva Grover, medical director of the Cleveland Clinic Pediatric Emergency Departments, is trying to do just that, especially with children and teenagers. “It’s all about setting expectations,” she said. Patients—even children—cannot always expect to not have pain at all after an injury or surgical procedure. When Dr. Grover sees a patient with a bad forearm fracture or infection that needs pain medication, she sets the expectation both with the parent and the patient. “Setting the expectation that I hope and my plan to take this pain from a scale of 10 to 4 or 3, but (also) I cannot promise you that the pain will go to a zero,” Grover told NBC News. “So when the parent or the child goes in with the expectation that, ‘I will have some discomfort. I will have some pain, some anxiety, and this will take time’, they are much more open to what is yet to come.”
If you or a loved one is struggling with substance dependency, Connections in Recovery (CiR) can help. CiR is equipped with carefully selected Drug and Alcohol Interventionists, addiction and recovery trained specialists, and Recovery Sober and Mental Health Coaches and Companions. To find out more, visit Connections in Recovery HERE.
About Connections in Recovery:
Connections in Recovery invests in training and ongoing clinical supervision for all of their coaches and companions to ensure that they are delivering the highest quality of service to their clients and their families. Furthermore, each individual receives ongoing clinical support and guidance through their duration with the client, which has been a tremendous asset to coaches and companions, especially with the more complex cases. Clinical supervision is offered 24/7, including throughout the process of transporting a client to a safe location or treatment program.
Connections in Recovery Services:
Mental Health and Recovery Coaches and Companions – With ongoing clinical supervision.
Clinical Case Management – Includes clinical case management as well as random drug testing.
Consulting – Working directly with the family overwhelmed or in crisis. We provide comprehensive assessment of the individual’s needs and goals; extensive research of available treatment options; recommendations for a plan of action.
Interventions – A highly trained interventionist will ease the difficult decision-making process regarding how to help your loved one take the next step toward recovering from an addiction or mental illness.
Safe Transport – Dedicated and highly trained recovery companions provide the following supervision and support to individuals with addiction and/or mental health problems during travel.
Rapid Response Team – When we receive a call for help, there is usually only a small window of opportunity. Our nationwide network of addiction and mental health consulting services allows CiR to respond quickly to the client in crisis.