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Teenage Opioid Addiction

Over the past decades, opioids misuse has have emerged as a public health crisis in the U.S., and a major cause of unintended injury and death among adolescents. While opioids are valuable and essential medications, some teenagers may get exposed to the drugs and use them for recreation purposes. Teenage opioid addiction creates severe mind and body dependency on the drug (Hamidullah et al., 2020). Therefore, teenagers battling opioid addiction may be at risk of overdose and lifelong substance abuse. The adolescents who misuse opioids were found to have a high prevalence of other substances such as cocaine and hallucinogens (Hamidullah et al., 2020). There are various risk factors for teenage opioid addiction.

The risk of opioid misuse is more among people who have previously received a legitimate prescription. Opioids are usually prescribed to teenagers who have experienced significant injuries, such as vehicle accidents, to help them cope with the pain. However, as they take more of the drug, their body may develop tolerance, leading to a full-blown addiction. When teenagers become addicted to the drug, they are likely to make risky decisions (Hamidullah et al., 2020). For instance, an addicted user may progress to illicit, cheap, and easily accessible drugs, such as heroin, when they no longer acquire or afford their prescription of choice. Besides, opioids are easily accessible, and teenagers can buy them online and have them shipped to their doorstep (Jalali et al., 2020). Therefore, measures should be put in place to reduce the misuse of opioids. Teenagers need to be educated on the harmful effects of opioids and the drugs in general, reducing the risk of addiction.

Another risk factor for teenage opioids addiction is familial opioid abuse. Teenagers with relatives who have an opioid addiction or use prescription opioids are more likely to abuse them. Teenagers may easily find and use the prescription medication in the medical cabinets of their parents, grandparents, uncles, or aunts, and mix it with other drugs and alcohol. A study by Bruder Stapleton (2020) linked having a relative with a recent opioid prescription to an increased risk of opioids overdose among the youth. The prescribed opioids to a family member create direct access to opioids for teenagers. Besides, the prescription to a family member may indicate shared risk factors that link patterns of opioid use, including genetic factors, common health conditions, and social stressors (Bruder Stapleton, 2020). Therefore, efforts to reduce the risk of opioid addiction among the youth should include screaming and intervention for the underlying social and economic problems. Besides, addressing early opioids addiction among youth includes those prescribed to family members.

Finally, friend opioid abuse is a contributing factor to teenage opioid addiction. Friends not only give quick access to the drugs, but they also serve as role models for drug use and help establish positive views regarding drug use (Azmawati et al., 2021). Therefore, if a teenager’s peers use illegal or prescription opioids, they may pressure the adolescent to want to try them to fit in. Furthermore, when friends consume drugs, it normalizes the behavior, making it appear more socially acceptable.

Conclusively, certain teenagers may be at risk for opioid addiction due to early legitimate prescription, familial opioid abuse, or friend opioid abuse. While early opioids prescription may be due to genuine health problems, such as injury, persistent use may lead to addiction. Moreover, having a family member or a friend who uses opioids provides easy access to teenagers. Addiction to opioids in teens can last into adulthood, and the longer the addiction persists, the more challenging it is to overcome. Therefore, it is critical to get therapy as soon as possible.


Azmawati, M. N., Ismail, R., Ibrahim, F., Mohd, R. H., Mohd Rizal, A. M., Amit, N., Ibrahim, N., & Shafurdin, N. S. (2021). Risk and protective factors of drug abuse among adolescents: A systematic review. BMC Public Health, 21, 1-15.

Bruder Stapleton, F. (2020). Opioid prescription in family and risk for youth opioid overdose. NEJM Journal Watch.Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine,

Hamidullah, S., Thorpe, H. H. A., Frie, J. A., Mccurdy, R. D., & Khokhar, J. Y. (2020). Adolescent substance use and the brain: Behavioral, cognitive and neuroimaging correlates. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience,

Jalali, M. S., Botticelli, M., Hwang, R. C., Koh, H. K., & McHugh, R. K. (2020). The opioid crisis: A contextual, social-ecological framework. Health Research Policy and Systems, 18, 1-9.


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