The opioid crisis continues. Back in 2016, over 42,000 people were killed by opioid overdoses in the U.S.A, and that number has grown.
Sadly, in that same year, 3.6 percent of adolescents ages 12-17 reported misusing opioids, with the majority misusing prescription opioids and not heroin. That percentage is twice as high among young adults ages 18-25.
Who is at greatest risk? Youth who report having health problems that cause acute and chronic pain, and those with mental health problems fare the worst. Adolescents with a history of substance abuse or misuse also obviously have a rough go.
And social circles count. If you have a family member who has overdosed, you’re at risk. If you’re often around friends who misuse prescription drugs, you can also easily be drawn into bad habits and influenced in the wrong direction.
According to the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, youth who commit to doing well in school have a greater chance of avoiding the perils of the opioid epidemic. Stay focused.
Those who feel concerned about the dangers of prescription drugs are more likely to avoid them. And those who have a strong bond with a healthy parent who doesn’t partake in substance abuse or approve of it have a greater chance of staying healthy.
Experts advise that it’s important to treat pain cautiously. Many kids get their first pain killers after a visit to the dentist. Better to face the temporary pain, or look for other options.
Adults can help by talking with teens and young adults about pain management and treatment. And by knowing the signs of misuse. According to the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, the signs of opioid misuse can include nausea, drowsiness and dizziness. They also include constipation, vomiting, dry mouth, headaches and mood changes.
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