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Medicine United States Science

Most Teens Who Abuse Opioids First Got Them From a Doctor (livescience.com) 181

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Live Science: Most American teenagers who abuse opioid drugs first received the drugs from a doctor, a new study finds. Researchers looked at trends in the use of prescription opioids among U.S. adolescents from 1976 to 2015. They found a strong correlation between teens' taking the drugs for medical reasons and then later taking them for "non-medical" reasons, or in other words, abusing them, according to the study published today (March 20) in the journal Pediatrics. In 2015, the the most recent year of the study, 8 percent of adolescents reported abusing prescription opioids, and the majority of them had been prescribed opioids previously, the researchers found. The U.S. consumes about 80 percent of the world's prescription opioid supply. There has been consistent growth in the number of prescriptions written for opioids in the U.S., rising from 76 million prescriptions in 1991 to 207 million in 2013, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. However, the new study revealed that among teens, both medical and non-medical use of opioid medications has declined in recent years, starting in 2013. The decline may be due to careful prescribing practices, Sean McCabe, a research professor at the University of Michigan, said. There are several medical procedures that teens may undergo for which opioids are recommended for pain management. But doctors can be careful about the amount of these drugs they prescribe, and limit refills. Parents can make sure that any leftover pills are discarded. Another report was published today in the journal Pediatrics that analyzed data from the National Poison Data System. It found that of all 188,468 prescription opioid exposures reported for youth under 20 years old between 2000 and 2015, nearly all the exposures occurred at a home and were most common among children under 5, accounting for six of every 10 cases. According to NPR, those children were able to get their hands on the medication because it was improperly stored or was in a purse.
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Most Teens Who Abuse Opioids First Got Them From a Doctor

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    and only care about profits. This is more proof of that.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      A doctor never gains anything by losing his/her temper. EVER. Something I learned quite early in my career. People are entitled to their opinions because we understand that these can come about for any number of reasons. I don't expect my patients to love me, worship me or even like me. It makes not one bit of difference to the quality of the attention and courtesy you will receive from me. One minute I can be treating a wealthy man, another I can be treating a drug addict brought to me in handcuffs. I trea

    • Doctors? This is about pharma companies. Having bestowed upon us four different boner pills, you would think they could come up with an addiction-free painkiller.

      • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) *
        Addiction is a complex problem. You want to blame the chemical compound, but it involves aspects of genetics, education, and psychology. How come people can take heroin for years and then suddenly stop? How come some people can try heroin once and be hooked, and others can do it occasionally and never spiral downwards, while still others can try it and NOT LIKE IT and never do it again? It's easy to blame the drug. That makes it simple. It's the drug's fault. The drug is evil. Ban the drug! The reality is t
  • by sconeu ( 64226 ) on Monday March 20, 2017 @11:36PM (#54079535) Homepage Journal

    Our Attorney-General has told us that it was all because of pot!!!!

    • It's really gonna blow his mind that pot isn't even the opiate gateway for the rest of teen (any?) abusers, either. Their gateway is not pot but other people's opiate prescriptions. Yup, Oxy and its brethren are pretty much the universal entry point for opiate addiction, and have been for... decades now?

      Nobody ever says, "Gee, this marijuana is entertaining, I think I'll go buy a bag of gross dirt that's been in someone's rectum and inject the liquified contents into my arm!"

      But I knew kids in HS (2
  • Why hasn't there been a study with spree killings and prescriptions? Most of the ones I looked into had a "disorder" / "treatment" while they were a teen.

  • In high school and college, every now and then someone would have surgery or have a bad injury, and they'd come back from the doctor bragging about the drugs they got. It was like a free pass to get high, and no one was ever concerned that it might lead to addiction because the drugs were prescribed by a doctor, so of course they aren't dangerous. It seems due to a failure to educate young people properly and a success on the drug companies' part to make their product seem like magic.

    • Re:Not surprised (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Mashiki ( 184564 ) <mashikiNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday March 21, 2017 @01:20AM (#54079847) Homepage

      Pain killers in a lot of times are prescribed over strength. Doctors are more likely to give someone a strong opiate instead of something weaker mixed or supplemented with a mild muscle relaxant for example. Or give them a longer dose then what they should actually receive(a doctor here in ontario was disbarred for repeatedly giving HS students 60-day scrips -- which the kids would mainly sell), instead of giving say 7-14 days with a return appointment. In my day, high school kids and college kids were mostly hitting booze. But they've ramped up the punishments that parents get nailed their kids get caught drinking in some places. Which explains why the "get high" path is so much easier, and getting caught with a handful of pills is less likely then a micky(375ml), unless you're acting out of it.

  • by Hadlock ( 143607 ) on Tuesday March 21, 2017 @01:16AM (#54079831) Homepage Journal

    This happened to my buddy. He got in a car accident or something. This was shortly after he graduated from high school, and his father had just died. He ended up on pain meds, ended up getting addicted after a couple of months. When his prescription ran out, he called up our mutual friend who was in to drugs and got more. This went on for about 18 months before he decided he wanted to become a veterinarian, somehow his friends and family weaned him off pills, and after two years was accepted in to vet school. Through no small miracle he made it through grad school and graduated, he's now pretty successful.
     
    I grew up in a pretty rich suburb, we had time to help him and his family through the addiction, and he had a strong goal to strive for. Many people don't have the opportunities or strong safety net that he did.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      This happened to my buddy. He got in a car accident or something.

      Or something?? Sounds like you don't know your buddy very well, friend.

    • >he decided he wanted to become a veterinarian

      That's not such a great idea in the States. They send all their vets to Vietnam I hear.

  • I'd say that most everyone, not just teens. This is a real and very significant problem. But some estimates, our country is under attack. So what are we going to do about it? Point the finger of blame? Or defend ourselves? Your choice.
    • by globaljustin ( 574257 ) on Tuesday March 21, 2017 @02:38AM (#54079965) Journal

      So what are we going to do about it? Point the finger of blame? Or defend ourselves? Your choice.

      Both of course.

      How can you defend yourself if you don't know what is attacking you?

      Proper defense necessitates "pointing the finger of blame"...aka identifying the cause of the problem.

      Fortunately we already know: Pharmaceutical companies make drugs abusable on purpose and incentivize doctors to prescribe them.

      Democrats have been pushing for more pharma regulations for years, Repubicans opposing them.

      Republicans have fought over and over to make it easy for these abusable drugs to get FDA approval.

      Oxyconin is a perfect example, read up:

      "In 2006, Giuliani acted as the lead counsel and lead spokesmen for Bracewell & Giuliani client Purdue Pharma, the makers of OxyContin, during their negotiations with federal prosecutors over charges that the pharmaceutical company misled the public about OxyContin's addictive properties. The agreement reached resulted in Purdue Pharma and some of its executives paying $634.5 million in fines"

      source [wikipedia.org]

      • by Curtman ( 556920 ) *
        AND More recently...

        In January, the city filed a first-of-its-kind lawsuit against Purdue Pharma alleging the drug maker "supplied OxyContin to obviously suspicious physicians and pharmacies," ultimately failing "to prevent the illegal diversion of OxyContin into the black market." While other suits against the company by states and municipalities have accused Purdue Pharma of deceptive marketing â" allegedly playing up OxyContin's effectiveness while playing down its addictiveness â" Everett's l

    • Your country is under attack from its own.

  • No objective measurements of pain, that is the problem. I've seen people with a simple toothache report their pain a 12 on scale of 10, while those who have tombstone ST segments and in the process of dying from a myocardial infarction say their pain is a zero. It's as if pain is a subjective thing or something. How is a physician to determine just how much a patient is hurting?

    • by swb ( 14022 )

      Since we have opioid receptors and endogenous opioids, it would stand to reason that receptors and endogenous opioid production would vary among the population.

      So perception of pain is likely to vary in the population as well, as not everyone will produce the same amount of endogenous opioids.

      I'd wager that people prone to addiction may produce fewer endogenous opioids or have a greater number of receptors, which causes them to respond more strongly to opioid medications.

      I also wonder if below average opioi

    • No objective measurements of pain, that is the problem. I've seen people with a simple toothache report their pain a 12 on scale of 10, while those who have tombstone ST segments and in the process of dying from a myocardial infarction say their pain is a zero. It's as if pain is a subjective thing or something. How is a physician to determine just how much a patient is hurting?

      You hit them with a big hammer on another part of their anatomy and see if they notice. If they react, it means they weren't in that much pain originally.

      Simple.

  • Pharmaceutical companies that do this and the doctors who enable them are absolute scum.

    Good example of why the private sector needs regulation.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Good example of why the private sector needs regulation.

      Spoken like someone with little interaction with the US healthcare system.

      As someone that suffers from chronic pain I have to fight to get the care I need. I complain that my medications are not treating my pain and I'm told by my physician that if I'm sent to a pain specialist that the first thing that they will do is take away the meds I have. I've been told by several physicians now that they are prevented by DEA policy from what medications they can prescribe.

      So, some faceless bureaucrat in DC has dec

  • The CIA's gotta do something with all that opium they're farming.

  • I remember being prescribed Lortab as a pain reliever to use after having my wisdom teeth pulled. Best 2-3 days of my life, it felt like. I have some low-level constant pain for various reasons, and it was just...gone. I felt good; I felt normal. I woke up every hour that night just long enough to see if it was time for more pills. Felt great the whole night and the next day.

    I wanted to keep going so much. I wanted to always feel....fine! I was prescribed soooo many more pills than I actually used.

  • So teenagers have the same drug problems as the general population, then?
  • Kurtis Mayfield's "Pusherman"started playing my head.
  • Are you tired of having empty prisons? Do you need something to do since your officers cannot put people in jail for marijuana? Feel like the drug war is a losing battle? Well, welcome to the golden opportunists of opioid abuse incarceration. Just stoke the fires of a long-time medical problem, and instead of offering medical solutions for a medical problem, offer to put people in your jails. As a bonus, everyone is a suspect, and most people feel pain from time to time. Ka-ching! Watch the money start roll
  • Yesterday, in a medical conference, I was told that 75% of heroin addicts that started with oxycontin abuse never had a prescription for their oxycontin.
    Different statistic, but also very different implication. And no I don't have a source to cite, sorry, but I do believe in the sincerity of the speaker, FWIW.

  • I have always felt that pain killers should be used sparingly and that one should only take the minimum level necessary to make the pain tolerable.

    For me, it wasn't about avoiding addiction. I don't like the feeling of having my mind feel cloudy.

    When I had my wisdom teeth removed, the doctor gave me a prescription for Lortab. I declined to fill it. I said that if Tylenol or Aleve made it tolerable, that's what I would use. Even though I had already made my decision, when a friend offered to buy them from me

  • Um... how can this be true:

    "Most American teenagers who abuse opioid drugs first received the drugs from a doctor,... and the majority of them had been prescribed opioids previously, the researchers found"

    and later the pediatric report said:

    "of all 188,468 prescription opioid exposures reported for youth under 20, [most] occurred among children under 5, [who got] the medication because it was improperly stored or was in a purse".

    Has anyone else noticed the increase in bogus new releases, that don't jive wit

  • The late 1980s and early 1990s was a time of huge scare campaigns over pain medications and the rise of Oxycontin becoming a drug problem. Suddenly, it was almost impossible to get a prescription for pain medication. People in a cast with a broken leg were given Tylenol for the pain. In some states they were flagging physicians for a review board if they wrote more than six prescriptions for pain killers a month. By the end of their time slice, 2013, some sanity had come back into the attitudes on p

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