Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that prescriptions for the addiction medication buprenorphine declined 45% for teens between 2015 and 2020, while they increased 47% for adults over 20.
Lead researcher Dr. Andrew Terranella said the decline in teen prescriptions is concerning, because opioid use disorder is increasing among youth.
According to Molly Bobek, associate vice president of family and adolescent clinical technology and science at Partnership to End Addiction, there are many barriers to medication for opioid use disorder. Health care providers, include many who care for youth, often lack training in treating opioid use disorder, she said. She noted there continues to be stigma attached to opioid addiction and the medications used to treat it.
Parental involvement in the treatment process is important, she said. “Family involvement in treatment can reduce stigma and build the kind of social support network necessary for long-term medication adherence,” Bobek said.