Adverse childhood experiences appear to have a significant effect on recent opioid misuse among adolescents, according to a study published in The Journal of Pediatrics this month.
A total of 10,546 students in 7th through 12th grades took part in the Northeast Ohio Youth Health Survey in Spring 2018. The purpose of the study was to measure the use of nonmedical prescription opioid or heroin in the past 30 days and self-reported lifetime exposure to 10 types of adverse childhood experiences.
Researchers with the Ohio Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention used the date to determine what proportion of adolescents’ recent opioid misuse could be attributed to these experiences.
More than 70 percent of opioid misuse in the study population was attributable to their experiences.
Researchers calculated that nearly one in 50 adolescents reported opioid misuse within 30 days. Of those, approximately 60 percent had experienced more than one adverse childhood experience, and 10.2 percent had experienced more than five.
The higher the number of experiences, the higher the odds of opioid misuse.
Researchers say interventions to prevent and mitigate the negative effects of adverse childhood experiences could decrease opioid misuse. These interventions include clinical practices, community programs, and government policies.