What Is Teen Opioid Abuse?
Opioid prescription drugs are most commonly prescribed as pain killers, especially in circumstances such as following surgery or to provide relief for patients who are in severe, chronic pain. These drugs are so addictive and potent that even among fitting patients, they’re prescribed with great caution and very specific orders. If the drugs are taken exactly as prescribed, then they can be effective and patients can remain safe from addiction. However, virtually any use outside of those prescribed puts a person at serious risk of addiction, overdose, and even death. In fact, opioids are so strong that even one large dose can be fatal.
The most commonly prescribed opioids include: Oxycodone, Hydrocodone, Diphenoxylate, Morphine, Codeine, Fentanyl, Propoxyphene, Hydromorphone, Meperidine (Demerol), and Methadone.
What It Looks Like
Teen Opioid abuse occurs in many different ways, but most commonly abuse occurs by either taking more of the pills than prescribed (either of their own, or someone else’s prescription) or taking the drugs by another means than prescribed (such as crushing up the pills into a powder and snorting.) Both of these means of abuse lead to greater risk of addiction and overdose.
Opioids work as pain killers by attaching to brain receptors to diminish perceptions of pain. They can also affect areas of the brain associated with pleasure, causing a person to experience euphoria, relaxation, or the “high” that’s created.
Opioids are not safe to combine with any other medications, including alcohol, because of the possible respiratory problems that can arise, causing a person great difficulty in breathing, and even leading to death.
Teen Opioid Abuse Treatment
Teen opioid abuse treatment has been developed according to treatment for heroine addiction, which is an illegal Opioid. Treatment must occur in a professional residential setting. The most successful teen opioid abuse treatment usually involve a combination of talk therapy or counseling and medication.
People with opioid addictions are treated by administering gradually smaller amounts of less potent opioids, in an effort to gradually wean them off of the substances in a safe way. Quitting too quickly, or “cold turkey,” thereby causing a person’s body to detoxify too quickly, can be fatal.
Therapists and health professionals can administer the medications properly, while overseeing the person’s stages of withdrawal, making sure that the detoxification happens in a gradual, safe manner. The most common medications used for this process include: Methadone and Buprenorphine. Sometimes, Naltrexone will be administered to people to help prevent relapse, after they’ve already stopped using opioids. Naloxone can be used to treat overdoses.
Because the risks of Opioids are so severe, the most immediate steps must address the physical aspects which people are facing. Once this process is underway and people have detoxified from the substance, then they can begin to work with a therapist to address the mental and behavioral aspects of their drug abuse.
Opioids are addictive substances, making relapse a very real possibility, so it’s important for people to get thorough treatment to help them address what attitudes, beliefs, triggers, and/or behaviors led to, and surround, their drug abuse. A therapist can help people work through these issues, discover what triggers they need to avoid in the future, establish new habits and behaviors to deal with stress in the future, and create a support system to assure their success in recovery.