Legitimate Opioid Use Can Increase the Risk of Teen Drug Abuse

Teen Drug Abuse caused by medical opioid treatmentA recent research study has raised concerns about legitimate opioid use in teens after the study showed that teens who are prescribed drugs from this class have a higher risk of teen drug abuse in the future. University of Michigan in Ann Arbor Survey Research Center research professor Richard Miech, the study author, explained that “A prescription for a pain reliever can put adolescents at risk for future pain reliever misuse. This finding may be explained in part by the novelty of drug use effects. Most likely, the initial experience of pain relief is pleasurable and a safe initial experience may reduce perceived danger. A pleasurable and safe initial experience with a drug is a central factor in theories of who goes on to misuse drugs.”

The study on opioid use and teen drug abuse showed that teens who had little or no experience with drugs were impacted more, while those who were more experienced were not as affected. Miech stated that “Although these experienced individuals may go on to misuse prescription pain relievers, such misuse does not appear to result from an introduction to pain relievers through a legitimate prescription. These findings suggest a currently unrecognized risk of narcotic prescribing. This risk should be incorporated into prescribing decisions and patient counseling.” Since the USFDA recently approved Oxycontin for children as young as 11 years old this study shows the dangers that need to be assessed and managed when these types of drugs are used, especially when they are used for kids and teens.

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