Opioid Figures Continue to Skyrocket in US
A new study has found that young people (18-35) are disproportionately affected by the opioid crisis and that one in three young adults receive medication for opioid use disorder within 12 months of a non-fatal opioid overdose.
The study, led by researchers at Boston Medical Center’s Grayken Center for Addiction, in collaboration with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH), shows which medications (buprenorphine, methadone or naltrexone) are being taken, and how long after the overdose they receive the treatment.
Nonfatal opioid overdose is a significant predictor for recurrent nonfatal and fatal opioid overdoses.
Young adults (under age 25) have been disproportionately affected by the opioid epidemic, as data indicate that drug overdose deaths nearly quadrupled nationally between 1999 and 2016 in young adults between 15 and 24 years old.
Research shows that young adults have distinct developmental differences that predispose them to substance use disorders, which requires strategically designed interventions to engage and retain them in treatment.
“Given that the reward and positive reinforcement systems are more advanced than inhibitory systems among young adults, it is imperative to engage them in treatment as early as possible to help prevent a disorder, or worse,” said Sarah Bagley, MD, the study’s lead author.
Researchers conducted this retrospective study of 15,281 individuals who were 18-45 years old and survived an opioid-related overdose in Massachusetts between January 1, 2012 and December 31, 2014.
The study results showed that 28% of 18-21-year-olds and 36% of 22-25-year-olds received medication for opioid use disorder.
That rate of medication receipt in adults 26-45 years old was also 36%.