The opioid epidemic has greatly affected our country as a whole. This study shows how much it has affected America's youth.
This article appeared at matrixdiagnostics.co.uk
According to a study published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, opioid addiction among US youth aged 25 and below, increased by almost 600% from 2001 to 2014. But, only a small number of those addicts received medical treatment that could prevent overdosing or relapsing.
Only approximately 27% of the young Americans treated for addiction to heroin or prescription drugs received naltrexone or buprenorphine, the two medications recommended for treating drug addiction.
Naltrexone effectively blocks the high people get from opioids, while buprenorphine reduces the urge to use drugs. The study noted that the most effective way to treat opioid addiction is to combine these medications with counselling, helping addicts overcome their psychological dependence on drugs.
Due largely to addiction to painkillers and heroin, deaths from drug overdoses have increased by 300% since 2000 in the US.
The investigators examined claim data from private insurance companies to find teenagers and young adults aged between 13 and 25, diagnosed as addicted to opioids between 2001 and 2014.
The researchers reviewed the claims records of almost 10 million patients, finding that about 21,000 patients, with an average age of 21, received an addiction diagnosis. Almost 5,000 patients received treatment with either naltrexone or buprenorphine within six months of an addiction diagnosis, with 90% receiving treatment with buprenorphine.
Only a small number of the youngest addicts were treated with either drug. About 10% of patients aged 16 and 17 received them, while only 1.4% aged 15 and younger got them.