Will New FDA Approval Lead to Increased Drug Addiction in Phoenix Teens?
Based on mounting evidence, some prescription opioids like OxyContin have been classified as addictive by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Prescription opioids are similar in ways to heroin in their affect on the human body and have been considered a gateway to heroin. No matter, the FDA just recently approved the use of the opioid painkiller OxyContin for use in children ages 11 to 16.
The FDA has approved the use of OxyContin with special guidelines in children 11 to 16 years of age. OxyContin is an extended release form of oxycodone that is often prescribed for patients with extreme trauma and allows fewer doses to manage pain. This can allow longer physical therapy sessions or longer uninterrupted sleep, both of which can help speed the healing and recovery process. Unfortunately opioid pain relievers also have the potential for abuse and can produce a high in larger doses. In even larger doses these painkillers are dangerous and can lead to death. In fact, opioid painkillers are believed to have contributed to approximately 17,000 deaths in the United States in 2011.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control has concluded that one of the strongest risk factors for heroin addiction is first a prescription opioid painkiller use disorder. Experts recommend that parents and caregivers monitor their children who are prescribed opioid painkillers for any signs of addiction. Unfortunately addiction can set in quickly and in some cases eventually move on to full drug addiction. There are numerous stories of youth that have moved down the wrong path and wasted years of their lives after initially getting hooked on opioid painkillers initially prescribed by a doctor for an injury. While drug use in teens in the United States has generally been trending down over the past decade the use of heroin has been seeing an uptick in older teens and young adults.
Unfortunately drug abuse is also often related to criminal activity and can lead to arrest and prison time. Drug abuse can and does destroy lives. Hopefully doctors will appropriately manage prescriptions to children and parents will keep a watchful eye to ensure more youth stay free of the ravaging affects of drug addiction.