Young Opioid Users Are Severely Uninformed of Opioid Abuse Risks - Report
City New York University researchers found that young adults who abuse opioids were “relatively uninformed” about the risks of using the substance, a report on clinical advisor said
Citing results from a recent study published in The International Journal of Drug Policy, the report said that young people using opioids for nonmedical purposes were specifically unaware of overdose incidences and prevention and response strategies in the event of an overdose.
The report also added that despite having witnessed or heard of overdose deaths within the community, opioid users were not aware of overdose antidotes like naloxone and were often “outside of the networks reached by overdose prevention services.”
“Opioid-involved overdoses in the United States have dramatically increased in the last 15 years, largely due to a rise in prescription opioid use,” noted David Frank and colleagues in the Journal. “Yet few studies have examined the overdose knowledge and experience of nonmedical PO users.”
For the study, researchers conducted semi-structured interviews with 46 New York City-based young adults between the ages of 18 to 32 who reported using prescription opioids within the past month. The interview transcripts were collected based on their key themes and analyzed through the grounded theory research method—a research process starting with data collection to form a theory.
“There is a pressing need to develop innovative outreach strategies and overdose prevention programs to better reach and serve young PO (prescription opioid) users and their network contacts,” the researchers stressed.
“Prevention efforts addressing risk for accidental overdose, including opioid safety/overdose reversal education and naloxone distribution, should be tailored for and targeted to this vulnerable group,” they added.
Overdoses happen when opioids are combined with alcohol or when users transition to heroin use. The study stated that these transitioning users did not identify themselves with traditional heroin users, and as a result, did not find it important to use “harm reduction” services like syringe exchange programs.
Authorities believe opioids are a gateway drug to heroin. While only 4 percent of opioid users shift to heroin, government officials claim it remains to be an alarming problem that has to be stopped, according to NBC News.
“The pathway appears to be now moving from the prescription drugs to heroin, a very dangerous development,’ Dr. Wilson Compton, deputy director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, was quoted as saying in an NBC News report last February.
Citing a blog post from the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the report added that the government has seen a surge in the number of young adults using heroin in 2012. The blog post revealed that heroin use among young adults age 18 to 25 have more than doubled from 122, 000 in 2002 to 272,000 in 2012 based on data from the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed a 20 percent rise in overdose deaths associated with prescription opioid painkillers since 2006, according to the report. In 2010, over 16,000 drug poisoning deaths were caused by prescription painkillers. 3,000 drug overdoses involving heroin took place during the same year.
“This problem is not going away anytime soon. There are good treatment programs available today, but more emphasis is needed on prevention yesterday,” saidBrady Granier, Chief Operating Officer of BioCorRx, Inc. (OTCQB: BICX), the company that developed the Start Fresh Program. The Start Fresh Program is a two-tiered program that takes a different approach to addiction rehabilitation. The first phase of the program involves an outpatient medical procedure to embed a specially formulated, biodegradable naltrexone implant under the skin and fatty tissue in the lower abdominal area. The second tier of the program involves a private, one-on-one coaching program to address the specific needs of the individual and to help him or her plan for a life free from substance abuse.
For more information on BioCorRx, Inc.’s Start Fresh Program, you may reach the company’s headquarters via phone: 714-462-4880, or visit www.startfreshprogram.com.
The following article is from one of our external contributors. It does not represent the opinion of Benzinga and has not been edited.