Few Teens Treated for Opioid Addiction Get Medication-Assisted Treatment

Only 2.4 percent of teens in treatment for heroin addiction receive medication-assisted treatment, a new study finds. In contrast, 26.3 percent of adults received treatment with addiction medications such as methadone or buprenorphine, Reuters reports.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health found only .4 percent of teens in treatment for prescription opioid addiction receive medication-assisted treatment, compared with 12 percent of adults.

The American Academy of Pediatrics advises doctors to consider medication-assisted treatment for teens with severe opioid use disorders.

“There’s more that needs to be done across the board to facilitate access to these treatments when they’re medically necessary,” lead researcher Kenneth Feder told Reuters. “The best validated treatment for somebody struggling with an opiate addiction is treatment that includes some sort of medication assistance.”

The study appears in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

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    J Wright

    March 17, 2017 at 5:07 PM

    As a person that’s very pro methadone, I’ve been on MMT for more than 22 years, I speak as someone that’s been on both sides. I just think that every other option MUST be explored before this happens. They are simply too young to get saddled with this. I don’t think there’s been enough studies done to establish what, if any, damage MMT would have on such a young developing, growing brain.

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    March 16, 2017 at 4:04 PM

    I find the idea of telling a teen that they must take methadone or suboxone for life frightening. Maybe if clinics worked on a model where other treatment models were offered and where MAT was used as a bridge for people new in recovery, I could be persuaded.

    However, with the current state of the for-profit MAT industry, I think exposing teens to these treatments is extremely dangerous and will destroy many lives. Even for my adult clientele I recommend they only go to a medical doctor for MAT services.

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