Minority of adolescent overdose survivors participate in addiction treatment

Minority of adolescent overdose survivors participate in addiction treatment

Less than one-third of young people who survived an opioid overdose receive follow-up addiction treatment, according to a study by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Researchers studied more than 3,600 people between the ages of 13 and 22 and found that 68.9 percent did not receive any addiction treatment, 29.3 percent received only behavioral health services, and 1.9 percent received one of three approved medications for opioid use disorder.

The current standard for addiction treatment includes behavioral therapy and treatment with one of three drugs.

All the participants in the study had been diagnosed with opioid poisoning, although less than 20 percent had received a diagnosis of opioid use disorder. Most were low-income and had been enrolled in Medicaid for at least six months, and a little over half were female.

In 2016, there were more than 4,000 fatal opioid overdoses in people between the ages of 15 and 24, according to NIH’s National Institute on Drug Abuse. There were approximately 28,000 emergency department visits and more than 7,000 hospitalizations in 2015.

Approximately a quarter of the overdoses were the result of heroin, and the remainder were from opioids. Researchers said that the synthetic opioid fentanyl might have caused some of the heroin overdoses.