There are a number of concrete ways that parents, family members, and other concerned adults can help prevent opioid misuse among adolescents. The fact that the adolescent brain is still growing means that teens are vulnerable to addiction.
Caring adults can make sure that adolescents who are struggling with opioid use disorder get appropriate treatment and support. Few adolescents with an opioid use disorder receive treatment. For example, between 2001 and 2014 only one in four insured youth with an OUD received treatment.
To help prevent opioid use disorder, those who care about and for adolescents should:
- Treat pain cautiously. Adolescents often are initially exposed to opioids through prescriptions; dentist prescriptions. Healthcare providers should turn to other treatment options before prescribing opioids for acute and chronic pain.
- Talk with teens in your life about pain treatment and management. Regardless of drug use history, reach out to youth. Building strong relationships with adolescents is the first step to connecting with youth on drug prevention. .