Young People with Family Members Taking Opioids More Likely to Overdose

Medications on the Shelves of a Medicine Cabinet

Teens and young adults who have family members taking prescription opioids are more than twice as likely to overdose on opioids themselves compared to their peers without family members taking the medications, according to new research.

The overdose risk increased six-fold for young people who were prescribed opioids, and rose 13-fold for those who were prescribed opioids themselves and had a family member with an opioid prescription.

The study, published in JAMA Network Open, included health data from more than 45,000 families, including more than 72,000 teens and young adults ages 11 to 26.

“Prescription opioids are potent medicines that can pose serious health risk to children and teens, if taken accidentally or misused on purpose,” study co-author Dr. Anh P. Nguyen of Kaiser Permanente Colorado’s Institute for Health Research, told UPI. “Parents should control access to these medications in the home.”

How to Use Naloxone to Reverse Opioid Overdose and Save Lives

A variety of drugs and drug combinations carry the risk of fatal overdose. Emergency protocol for any suspected overdose includes calling 911. However, in the case of opioids, which includes heroin and prescription pain medications like Vicodin, OxyContin and Percocet, naloxone (also known by the brand name Narcan) can reverse an overdose, potentially saving a loved one’s life.

How to Respond to Overdose with Naloxone - Narcan