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Saturday, November 18, 2017

This is Killing Our Teens: What Parents Need to Know About Opiods

This is Killing Our Teens: What Parents Need to Know About Opiods
President Trump recently declared the opioid epidemic a national emergency, and it is claiming the lives of an increasing number of American teens. According to the U.S. Centers For Disease Control, the death rate due to drug overdose among adolescents aged 15–19 more than doubled from 1999 (1.6 per 100,000) to 2007 (4.2), declined by 26 percent from 2007 to 2014 (3.1), and then increased again in 2015 (3.7).

What parents need to know

Opioids are drugs that act on the nervous system to relieve pain. Continued use and abuse can lead to physical dependence and withdrawal symptoms. Opiods are highly addictive. According to the National Institutes of Health, "Long-term opioid use changes the way nerve cells work in the brain. This happens even to people who take opioids for a long time to treat pain, as prescribed by their doctor. The nerve cells grow used to having opioids around, so that when they are taken away suddenly, the person can have lots of unpleasant feelings and reactions. These are known as withdrawal symptoms."

What is disturbing about teen deaths from opiod use is that the majority (80 percent) of drug overdose deaths are unintentional.

How does it start?

It starts with painkillers. Painkillers are often taken for granted. Teens in athletic programs are particularly vulnerable. They are often given painkillers when injured in sports. They can also be given painkillers before a dental procedure. This is where addiction can start. It is not uncommon for doctors to prescribe 30 days of painkillers, when all the teen needs is a few days worth of medication.

Once the prescription is gone, teens may experience withdrawal symptoms, including stomach ache and pain. This often leads to teens taking painkillers prescribed to other family members. Most do not realize that they are already on their way to addiction.

Parents, pay attention to what painkillers are being prescribed to your teen. Ask the doctor about the possibility of addiction. If your child has been prescribed a painkiller, monitor closely how your teen is using the painkillers, and for how long. Ask school coaches if any painkillers are being administered to your teen. Keep your own medications away from adolescents and teens.

Don't let your teen become a statistic.

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