A new study suggests the risk of teens and young adults developing a substance use disorder after being prescribed opioids is lower than previously thought.
The study of more than 77,000 teens and young adults in Sweden found 4.6% of those prescribed an opioid developed a substance use disorder or other substance-related issue within 5 years, compared with 2.4% of those prescribed non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for pain relief, Pain News Network reports.
The study did find some risk in prescribing opioids to young people, said Indiana University researcher Patrick Quinn. “By using several rigorous research designs, we found that there was not a huge difference — in fact, the difference was smaller than some previous research has found. But the study still shows that even a first opioid prescription may lead to some risk,” Quinn said in a university news release. “Our findings highlight the importance of screening for substance use disorders and other mental health conditions among patients with pain, including those receiving opioid therapy.”