Widespread availability to painkillers drives teenage addiction
One of the most damaging aspects of the current opioid crisis is the impact it is having on the very youngest population. While teenagers have always been exposed to drugs, the current wave of opioids is literally impacting hundreds of thousands of teenagers.
Data from the American Society of Addiction Medicine shows in 2015, nearly 300,000 people 17 or younger were using pain killers recreationally. More than 120,000 were addicted to those pain killers.
Unfortunately, there are very few treatment options for teenagers struggling with addiction.
Now, as reported by WCAX, legislators in Washington are trying address the issue of teenage addiction.
For teens, the first high from a powerful painkiller is even riskier than it is for an adult. That’s because those developing young minds are far more vulnerable to addiction, especially after a second prescription
“The disease itself seems to progress much more quickly,” said Dr. Julia Finkel, the lead researcher at Children’s National in Washington D.C.
Congress is considering creating pilot programs tailored to teens, and better training physicians.
“Professionals in this field need to have every tool that’s possibly available,” said Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich. His bipartisan bill would make $5 million available in grants — a financial starting point which Peters hopes grows.
White House officials wouldn’t say whether the bill will have the President’s support. “Everything we can do to help reduce — reduce deaths and improve public safety is on the table,” said spokesman Raj Shah.
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To learn more about how Congress is looking to address the issue of teenage addiction, please visit WCAX.com.