Use of legitimate opioid in children may lead to opioid abuse in some adolescent
It is becoming clear that the opioid dependence that grows to abuse does not discriminate age. The cases are occurring in teens and young adults. The observation is just a small bit of the reality as many young people do not visit an emergency to seek treatment for their addiction. The number of people at the age of 21 or younger who are dependent on opioid has been increasing steadily. Some are 16 or younger. More than 50 percent of these patients are male.
The highest numbers of the people who visit the hospital with opioid dependence or addiction only reach an emergency room because of another acute issue such as an infection, cut or broken bone. Most of them have no other long-term health problems which indicate that they were not ready to seek help for an opioid abuse problem and only went to a hospital because of the emergency.
Only a few of the adolescents inform an emergency room doctor about their problems with sedative abuse. The doctors have a role in identifying those who are likely to have a dependence problem that requires intervention in addition to treating the injury or illness that made the patient seek medical help.
Some researchers believe that a physician should always have the curiosity to find out if any kid who visits an emergency room could be having an underlying problem with opioid use. A doctor should conduct a thorough physical exam and gather comprehensive medical history if he suspects that a kid could be abusing drugs. Urine or other tests will also help to confirm misuse of opioid.
Signs and Symptoms Legitimate Opioid Abuse in Adolescents
Children and teens who are abusing depressants by taking an overdose or more frequently than necessary will show some of these signs and symptoms:
- Increase tolerance to the drug
- Inability to reduce or stop the use
- A desire to keep taking a drug even when it causes health impacts
- Spending excess time taking drugs and money to buy
- Sleeping excessively, extreme loss or gain of weighing
- Withdrawal symptoms after stopping usage
Children who abuse opiates are already dependent on the drug and will show these symptoms if they stop taking them:
- Extreme physical and mental discomfort
- Muscle aches
- Nausea and vomiting
The trouble with opioid dependence is that even a minor reliance might cause withdrawal symptoms. Even people with a minor dependence on prescription opioid can suffer from withdrawal. Longtime addicts should consult a medical professional for help on how to quit.
How Legitimate Opioid Abuse Happens
Long-term use of opioid even after a legitimate prescription changes the functioning of the nerve cells in the brain. It also happens to those who need the sedatives to for a long time treatment. Opioid bind and activate opioid receptors on the cells found at many sections of the brain, spinal cord, and other body organs especially those that control feelings of pleasure and pain. Opioid attaches to these receptors to block the sending of pain signals by the brain to the body and release a significant amount of dopamine throughout the body. It is this release that reinforces the act to take to take the drug because the user wants to keep repeating the experience.
The nerve cells become used to having opioid hence the child is at the risk of getting unpleasant feelings and reactions after sudden taking away at the end of treatment. Withdrawal symptoms are the term that medical practitioners use for these reactions. They begin more like having flu. The user gets body aches, fever, chills, sweating and shaking.
It is a reason for doctors to carefully follow if a child’s parents know the right prescription, the time to take and the importance of adhering to the dose. They should also guide the users about the right time to stop taking medicine to reduce chances of getting withdrawal symptoms. Eventually, cells will start functioning normally, but it will take time.
Most of the children who abuse opioid as adolescents also have other dependence problems. For example, they keep on taking drugs even though it could be having harmful effects on their life and other aspects of life. They usually get a strong urge to take opioid even when they do not have much pain because of something called cravings. The natural rewards such as taking chocolate, a relaxing walk or watching a funny movie do not satisfy the adolescent until they take opioid.
Children at a Higher Risk of Legitimate Opioid Abuse
Any kid or adult who uses opioid is at the risk of developing an addiction. The right way to reduce the risk of addiction is to use the tranquilizers according to the prescription by the doctor and avoid using these drugs in an unauthorized way. Taking opioid can be a choice, but some factors might increase the risk of addiction. Children with mental illness or dependence on other drugs are a higher risk for opioid abuse. Other factors that increase risk of dependence include:
1.History of dependence
Children from a family with a history of drug dependence or those who grow in particular social and economic situations could be at a higher risk. Children with parents who abuse opioid are at high risk of abuse from pregnancy until their adolescence. Some of the drugs get into their system, and they experience withdrawal symptoms at birth.
Withdrawal effects after prenatal exposure to opiates will cause worse withdrawal effects than at any other age. There are many cases in the US where mothers to such kids give them for adoption. The children who continue staying with their addicted parents are likely to follow the same path because of neglect. Their parents are unlikely to follow up whether they are taking the correct dosage or healing of the disease or injury that makes a doctor to prescribe opioids. Living with an addict parent might also cause the older children or teenagers to rely on sedatives as their coping mechanism against neglect, anxiety, and expression. The danger is that such parents are unlikely to discover opioid dependence quickly or take fast action after they notice the symptoms of addiction.
2.Misuse of prescription drug
Misuse of prescription opioid can increase the likelihood of dependence leading to substance use disorder (SUD) a medical illness ranging from mild to severe. SUD can grow from temporary to chronic with addiction as the most severe form. A SUD develops in someone after continued misuse for opioid to the point of changing the brain. In addition to health problems, adolescents with substance use disorder will have challenges in meeting responsibilities at school or home. Use of any opioid in a different manner from the doctor’s prescription can cause dependence because this category of drugs is highly addictive. Reliance on the medication can occur even with infrequent use leading to physical dependence s it will still alter the pain center in the brain which brings the dependency.
3.Long-term use of opioid
Someone addicted to opioid wants to get more drugs after the prescriptions run out. It can lead to risky or inappropriate behavior such as lying to a pharmacist to receive a new order, buying opioid from friends stealing medicine from other users or buying from street sellers. Taking prescription opioid for an extended period might cause these risks.
- Development of tolerance by making the user to need more opioid for similar pain relief
- The physical dependence that triggers symptoms of withdrawal after stopping opioid use
- Addiction when a user develops strong cravings and continues taking opioid even when it is causing problems with money, health, and relationships
Taking too much of opioid or mixing with other drugs or alcohol can cause an overdose and even death.
Preventing Legitimate Opioid Abuse among Children
1.Locking the drugs up
Keeping drugs away from the reach of children is essential because the children might take extra tablets or spoonfuls. Increasing the dose beyond doctors is an abuse that could lead to dependence and eventual addiction
It also prevents healthy children from taking medicine that belongs to others. There are reports of instances where children take opioid belonging to their siblings or friends to manage anxiety, pain or sleep disorders without consulting a doctor to determine the cause. They may think that prescription medicine is safer than street drugs because they have the approval from healthcare providers. What they do not know is that abuse of prescription opiates will also lead to serious side effects, overdose or addiction. Parents should lock up the prescription opioid and other medication to ensure that only the child who got the drugs is taking them.
2. Keeping track of the medications
It is essential to prepare a list of medicines in the home especially those that children are likely to abuse and monitor their use. It is necessary to periodically count the remaining tablets in a container to determine if the quantity matches the prescribed dosage. A parent can request a dose of 8-22 hours to allow administering at home for school going children and measure the correct dose. A school nurse can help if the child must take medication at home.
3. Proper disposal upon dose completion
It is dangerous to save opioid for next time use after ending the pain treatment. The prescription regimen ends at healing and dispose of the remaining drug is essential to prevent the same child or others from taking it. Follow any disposal instructions that the manufacturer provides on the label. A pharmacist or healthcare provider can advise on how to get rid of unused medicine if it does not have disposal instructions. Mixing it with undesirable substances such as sawdust, used coffee ground or kitty litter before placing it in a sealable bag for disposal in trash prevents those who would try to retrieve the medicine.
4.Avoid sharing medication
A specific opioid is appropriate for the person who got it from a healthcare professional but not other kids. Other kids might get dangerous drug interactions as well as serious side effects if someone else uses it.
Treatment of Legitimate opioid abuse
A variety of treatments including behavioral therapies and medicine are efficient in helping adolescents with dependence and addiction to stop the habit.
Physicians can prescribe methadone and buprenorphine medicines that work by binding the same opioid receptors in the brain in the same way as a painkiller to reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Another medication is known as naltrexone block the opioid receptors to present the drugs from having any effect.
Therapists use behavioral therapies to treat addiction to prescription opioids for users to modify their attitudes and behavior relating to the use of drugs. They help their patients to increase healthy life skills as they continue with other forms of treatment like medication. Multidimensional family therapy which specializes in adolescents with drug use problems address personal and family influences on abuse patterns to improve overall functioning. Behavioral therapy that helps to manage triggers of drug abuse and stress is also an effective therapy.
Counseling children and teens about the dangers of prescription drugs for recreation helps them to understand the harm of dependence and addiction. They will avoid taking medicine without adhering to prescription dose and confess any drug abuse to get help.