The Staggering Statistics of Teen Opioid Addiction

Teen Opioid Addiction

Pharmaceutical drug misuse and addiction, as per the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Drug Facts, arises when someone uses medicine in a way other than prescribed by a doctor.

More than 5,700 children and young adults admitted taking prescription pain medications for the first time in 2014, according to data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). Most of them also reported taking medicine for other purposes, such as mood stabilizers. Meanwhile, the National Institute on Drug Abuse tallied 3,391 deaths caused by opioids among teens and young adults (15 to 24 years old) in 2019.

Prescription medicines were the most abused drugs in the previous year, according to recent figures. Adolescents and teens aged 12 to 17 account for 4.9% of cases of nonmedical use of prescription pain relievers, while young adults aged 18 to 25 account for 14.4%. The majority of young individuals reported using illegal substances before they turned 21. Although the numbers decrease every year, most parents are concerned that their child may experiment with and abuse such substances.

For the past 15 years, the fatalities caused by opioid addiction have quadrupled. Some experts conclude that the rise in the number of prescriptions may be one of the reasons why opioids became more accessible. In 2016, over a million prescriptions were written by health care providers in the United States. Additionally, in 2017, it was estimated that the death rate caused by drug addiction would rise by 30% over ten years, which equates to losing the entire population of Atlanta every year. Note that these numbers might be reduced thanks to the numerous treatment centers that offer teen opioid addiction treatment, especially in Los Angeles.

Why Do Teen Opioid Addiction Statistics Keep on Rising?

The most common cause for teen drug misuse and addiction is experimentation. More than 50% of new drug users in Los Angeles are under the age of 25. The number of fatal opioid abuse cases is minimal, but opioid overdose deaths are growing at an accelerating rate. In 2015, approximately 4,200 teenagers and young people aged 15 to 24 died due to drug overdoses. More than half of these figures were linked to opioid abuse. Here are some of the most common reasons for teens misusing their prescription medicines or taking illegal opioids, like heroin:

  • They are fascinated by the “wonders” that different drugs can do to their body and emotions.
  • They feel compelled to use by their peers to maintain their sense of community within the social group.
  • They are anxious and overwhelmed by school.
  • They want to get away from their family and friends’ issues.
  • They crave attention, and reckless behaviors might help them get it.
  • They can get the drug simply through a doctor’s prescription or through family members who have been prescribed painkillers.

What Can You Do About It?

Any substance can affect a teen’s ability to focus. Furthermore, those who begin taking medications while they are young are more likely to have a substance abuse issue later in life. Drug-addicted teenagers are more likely to take sexually-related risks and engage in other types of sexual misconduct. As a result, your teenager is more likely to become pregnant, be harassed, and contract STDs. In addition, drug abuse can cause anxiousness, depression, personality changes, and delusions.

Substance addiction may impact nearly every process in the body, based on how the system absorbs and processes each type of drug. Inhalant-induced brain damage, stimulant-induced heart attack, and sedative-induced breathing problems are only a few examples of the decline in body processes. Any of these issues can lead to sudden death.

Speak with a mental health professional, such as your child’s psychiatrist or a campus guidance counselor, as soon as possible. If they believe that your child requires medical attention, they will present you with suitable treatment choices for their needs and current state of health. An addiction professional assesses the situation and evaluates whether interventions, such as juvenile drug rehab or therapy sessions, are necessary. Other counselors and psychologists can provide therapy for teenage drug addiction, such as medications, counseling sessions, and treatment programs.
Talk about this issue with your teen calmly and consistently. Check that all drugs are being properly stored. Discard or get rid of any expired or unused medications at home. This will reduce your child’s chances of taking meds by accident, abusing them, or intentionally distributing it to someone else. And remember, Los Angeles is home to numerous teen opioid treatment programs that strive to help children recover and live a sober life.