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Overdose deaths now claim more lives every year than car crashes. More than 100,000 lives were lost to overdoses last year - a 15% increase from the year before. Those overdoses are caused by opioids and the fact that most have not received life-saving recovery medication, which is recommended standard of care.

Research shows that medication + therapy can treat these disorders and for some people struggling with addiction can sustain recovery.

What you need to know about Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

MAT is considered the most effective treatment for opioid use disorder by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other federal agencies.

Rehabs fail 90% of the time when not followed by medication. MAT helps reduce cravings, decreases withdrawal symptoms, and significantly lowers the chance of relapse and overdose. MAT has been shown to be 6x more effective than rehab.

There are several medications commonly prescribed for MAT. Buprenorphine (commonly known as Soboxone), Methadone, Naloxone, and Naltrexone are the most common.

What is Suboxone?

Suboxone may be taken daily, twice a day, or every other day. It achieves maximum effects within an hour and lasts up to 24 hours after each dose. This medication comes in tablets or films. Most research shows suboxone works best when you take it for a minimum of 1 to 2 years, if not longer. But everyone is different and you can discuss the length of your treatment plan with your provider.

Like other opioid drugs, buprenorphine attaches to a specific site on the nerve cell (μ-opioid receptors). However, buprenorphine activates these receptors only partially, about half the strength of other opioids (a "partial agonist"), As such, it does not produce a high, even at higher and higher doses (a “ceiling effect”). It is, therefore, safer than medications like oxycontin or methadone. At the same time, it is long-acting, provides stable, low-level stimulation of opioid receptors in the brain prevents withdrawal symptoms, and reduces cravings.

What Is Naloxone?

Naloxone is a medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that is designed to rapidly reverse opioid overdose. It is an opioid antagonist—meaning that it binds to opioid receptors and can reverse and block the effects of other opioids, such as heroin, morphine, and oxycodone. it is administered when a patient is showing signs of opioid overdose, naloxone is a temporary treatment and its effects do not last long. Therefore, it is critical to obtain medical intervention as soon as possible after administering/receiving naloxone. The medication can be given by intranasal spray (into the nose), intramuscular (into the muscle), subcutaneous (under the skin), or intravenous injection.A practitioner should assess the need to prescribe naloxone for patients who are receiving medication-assisted treatment (MAT) or otherwise considered a risk for opioid overdose.

What Is Naltrexone?

Intramuscular extended-release Naltrexone is a medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat both Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) and Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) as a Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) option. Naltrexone can be prescribed and administered by any practitioner licensed to prescribe medications and is available in a pill form for Alcohol Use disorder or as an extended-release intramuscular injectable for Opioid Use disorder. A Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) is required for the long-acting injectable formulation to ensure that the benefits of the drug outweigh its risks.

The pill form can be taken daily for AUD, but the extended-release injectable formulation is approved for the treatment of OUD. The pill form is taken daily and the extended-release injectable is administered every four weeks, or once a month, by a practitioner.

Naltrexone is not a recommended MAT option for anyone younger than 18 years of age, or for patients experiencing other health conditions.

Additional support

Typically, after 1-2 weeks of starting medication, people are at a higher risk for suicide. They are now well enough to make and follow through with a plan. Make sure your teen has access to 1:1 or group therapy in addition to medication, once they have stabilized!

We offer an NA group and social-emotional group that can support teens struggling with addiction.

Not all drugs are created equal and neither is all drug use.

Drug use falls into 3 categories:

Most teens experiment with substances at some point. However, of those who experiment, most will not go on to use or abuse drugs.

How to set boundaries with your teen about drug use:

When talking to your teens about drug use, it's important that you can take a hard stance without becoming angry. You want to be clear and calm. Anger, shouting, and ranting harms the relationship you have with your teen and your teen's self-concept. When teens have a bad relationship with their parents, drug use is more likely. Prioritize keeping the lines of communication open.

At the same time, be consequential and do not rescue your kids. Instead of giving them orders, let your teens know your thoughts on experimentation, use, and abuse of substances. Find fact-based articles about drugs to give to your teen. Provide straightforward and informative evidence. We love this collection of scientific articles from NIDA. Let them know about why people engage in drug use and the consequences of substance use. Girls in particular need to understand the effects of drug use during the first trimester of pregnancy. Also, let them know your limits with substance use and the consequences they may encounter if they cross your limits.

Parents have an obligation to take care of themselves, so make sure you communicate that to your teen. If drugs are found in the home, parents are an accessory to the crime. Let your teen know that if necessary, you will call the police and grant them permission to search the premises. Similarly, if your teen is drinking and driving, let your teen know you will simply phone the sheriff and give them the license plate number. Risking their and others' lives on the highway is not something you are willing to participate in. Let your teens know about your limits with the law. We recommend you communicate very directly that all drug users must deal with the law on their own. Be clear you will not bale them out.

State these realities in a matter-of-fact and loving way. They need to know that you don't want to live with the guilt of having them kill someone or hurt themselves. Statements about yourself and not being an accessory is more effective than lecturing your teen.

Signs of teen drug use:

What to do when you suspect drug use:

Guidelines for finding professional care:

Interested in learning more tips like this?

What is fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a potent synthetic opioid.

Rapid teen overdose increases: Illegally made fentanyl is the primary driver of the recent increase in all us overdose deaths. Fentanyl-involved deaths are the fastest growing among 14-23-year-olds. Fentanyl is involved in more deaths among people under 50 than any other cause of death including accidents, heart disease, and cancer. Among teens, deaths related to fentanyl have tripled in the past two years. However, 73% of teens say that have not heard of fentanyl before.

Fentanyl is everywhere: An estimated 250-500 million pills made with fentanyl are in circulation in the U.S. at any time. This number doesn’t account for powder drugs made with fentanyl such as cocaine, MDMA (molly/ecstasy), or heroin.

Why is it everywhere? Fentanyl is very cheap and extremely addictive. Because of this, drug dealers are mixing illegally made fentanyl w​​ith, and disguising it as, other common drugs like Oxycontin, Percocet, and Xanax to increase profits. Drug users have no way of knowing what they are getting in illegally-purchased drugs, and as little as two milligrams of fentanyl (two grains of sand) can kill a person. The practice of cutting drugs with fentanyl is relatively new, so public awareness is low. Educating the public about this crisis is the first step to reversing the tragic outcomes.

How to talk to your teen about fentanyl:

If you are considering drug use, use caution.

Signs your teen may be using drugs:

What to do when you suspect your teen is using drugs:

  1. Remain calm. Do whatever you need to do to settle your nervous system. Call a friend, go on a walk, etc.
  2. Talk it over with your teen. Confront your teen directly. Let them know what you found, or that you're worried. Let them know you are still thinking over how you want to address it.
  3. Talk with your teen's school counselor.
  4. Find out if your teen's friends or siblings are concerned about them. (This isn't about getting them to "rat" your teen out. It's about getting a gauge of how destructive the behavior is.)
  5. Get profesional support.

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