Blog: For Young People Addicted to Painkillers, the Path Less Taken — Why?

Pill interactions“Many adolescents believe that Rx opioids are safe because they are prescribed by a doctor. But when abused, they can be as potent and as deadly as heroin. In fact, many teens and young adults who abuse Rx opioids move on to heroin abuse.

But Rx opioid or heroin abuse does not have to be lethal. There are behavioral and pharmacological treatments that can save lives and bring even seriously addicted kids into long-term recovery. The problem is that many treatment programs have chosen to either rely on only behavioral treatments or only medications; and most physicians do not have sufficient training in either medication or behavioral therapy to provide effective treatment.

While no one treatment approach is right for every teen, it is clinically sensible — but not easy — to find comprehensive care. We tell families to look for three things: First, the availability of professional counseling; second, medications and regular monitoring for the affected teen; and finally, family therapy to help that teen.

Families can, and should, insist that their treatment providers offer these medications (methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone) as part of a treatment plan for teen and young adult patients who are struggling with an Rx opioid addiction. It is possible that medication-assisted treatment will not be necessary, but there should be monitoring and management in place to determine whether or when behavioral treatment alone is not adequate.”

Source: – December 21, 2013