Nearly 60 percent of teenagers and young adults leave urgent visits to the dentist with a prescription for opioids – if most would be good for Tylenol, a new study reveals.
What's more, at least 12 percent of ER visits for sore throat and about 17 percent of visits for urinary tract infections ended with an opioid prescription.
Previous studies have shown that the use of prescription opioids at a young age can increase the risk of opioid abuse in the future by more than a third.
Researchers at Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School say the numbers are shocking and that guidelines, such as those for adults, should be set for prescribing opioids in younger populations.
A new study by the Boston Children & # 39; s Hospital has shown that almost 60% of visits for dental disorders in teenagers and young adults ended with an opioid prescription (file image)
Last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that opioid overdose deaths exceeded 47,000 in 2017.
This means that an average of 130 Americans die every day as a result of opioid overdoses.
The concern has recently focused on the increase in the use of synthetic opioids such as fentanyl.
However, opioids such as Vicodin and OxyContin accounted for approximately 40 percent of deaths from opioid overdose, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services.
Teens and adults of college age are particularly susceptible to opioid abuse.
Previous research has shown that & # 39; legitimate use of prescription opioids in high school students is associated with a 33 percent increase in the risk of future opioid abuse in young adults & # 39 ;, wrote the authors.
For the study, published in Pediatrics, the team analyzed data from two national CDC surveys.
Researchers looked at visits to first aid departments and outpatient clinics for teenagers from 13 to 17 years and young adults between the ages of 18 and 22.
Over the course of the study period, approximately 57 million visits resulted in an opioid prescription, including 14.9 percent of emergency care visits and 2.8 percent of outpatient visits.
The requirements in emergency departments fell between 2005 and 2015, but only slightly – by around four percent.
Data showed that visits related to dental disorders were most likely to see a prescription recipe, with nearly 60 percent for both teenagers and young adults.
"The actual recommendation for this is for Tylenol or ibuprofen, not for opioids," said lead author Dr. Joel Hudgins, a clinical instructor at Boston Children's & # 39; s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. NBC News.
A study published at Stanford University School of Medicine last year showed that teenagers and young adults who were prescribed opioids by their dentists are likely to become addicted.
Visits for collarbone fractures and fractured ankles were the second and third that in all likelihood resulted in opioid prescriptions for 13 to 17 year olds.
For 18 to 22 year olds, the second and third visits were most likely for low back pain and sprains.
Dr. Hudgins added that guidelines for regulations for teenagers and young adults should be drawn up to contain the crisis.
& # 39; There are national guidelines for prescribing opioids for adults, and that helps prescribers exactly how long, what the right duration is and what the correct opioid is and such & # 39 ;, said Dr. Hudgins. CNN.
& # 39; There are really no such guidelines, or at least not at the national level, for adolescents and young adults. & # 39;
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