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Athletic teens: Heading from prescription pain relievers to heroin

Athletic teens: Heading from prescription pain relievers to heroin

The United States is experiencing an increase in deaths due to an overdose of prescription opioids such as pain relievers which have reached epidemic proportions. Synthetic and semisynthetic opioids, including the most commonly prescribed opioid pain relievers, continue to be the reason for maximum opioid-related deaths.

In an effort to curb this crisis, the White House released an interagency strategy in 2011. Federal agencies worked with the states to educate various parties including providers, pharmacists, patients and parents on the danger of prescription drug abuse. Though improvements were observed in states with aggressive policies that emphasized on cutting down the availability of such drugs, however, since 2007 an increase in heroin overdose has been noticed.

In March 2015, the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced an initiative to combat intertwined problems of prescription opioid use and heroin use. Though the relationship between the two is still under scrutiny, it has come to light that people who use prescription opioids are at a higher risk of using heroin.

Teens and prescription drug abuse

A Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) revealed that teenagers who participate in daily sports activities are less likely to transition to heroin from opioid pain reliever use. Previous research indicated that this group was at risk of nonmedical prescription opioid use (NPOU) due to their sports injuries. However, it could not be confirmed whether they would indulge in heroin use as well.

Results from the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) show that prescribing nonmedical prescription opioids and opioid analgesics have increased over the last two decades among the U.S. children and adolescents. Despite their efficacy as pain relievers they can also be easily abused. There is a growing concern among the public that this group can move towards heroin use due to their exposure to prescription drugs and NPOU.

Cheap price makes teenagers abuse heroin

Various studies have indicated that there is a strong association between NPOU and heroin use when it comes to teenagers and young adults. This is largely because of easier availability and affordability of heroin in comparison to prescription opioids. Previous studies have indicated that people who indulge in NPOU can progress to heroin. However, an in-depth examination is still required to prove this correlation.

While studies indicated that adolescents who are into sports are prone to NPOU, there is only anecdotal evidence from various media sources linking prescription opioids to heroin use among them. Since a majority of the American adolescent population indulges in sports, it is important to study this phenomenon and take immediate corrective actions.

Detox: The first step towards recovery

The first and most crucial step in recovering from addiction is detox. This is the starting point to a lifetime of recovery and living a fulfilling and sober life. Detoxification under medical supervision is essential. It can be done either on an outpatient basis or at an inpatient rehab center.

After consulting a medical practitioner, depending on the type of drug abused and the condition of the patient, the right treatment is recommended. With an outpatient program, the patient needs to come to the treatment center regularly for appointments and take the prescribed medications under supervision. In the inpatient treatment, the patient is admitted to a rehab center and his condition is monitored in a clinically controlled environment.

If you or a loved one has decided to kick the habit of abusing prescription drugs, seek professional help at the earliest. An expert will suggest you the right treatment method by assessing the case. You may connect with the Colorado Detox Helpline to speak with addiction experts who can guide you with the required information on detox centers in Colorado. You may call us at our 24/7 helpline number 866-730-5807 or chat online to know about evidence-based detox therapies or about the detoxification treatment centers in Colorado.

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