Opioids, as described by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH), are a class of drugs that include heroin, synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, and pain relievers such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine, and more. Opioids can be very addictive, and react directly with opioid receptors in the brain. Babies can become addicted to opioids before they are even born – if the mother is addicted, the baby will become addicted by receiving them through her placenta. Once the baby is born, they are no longer receiving those opioids through their mother and will experience withdrawal symptoms.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 12 million Americans aged 12 years or older either abused or were dependent on opioid painkillers in 2013, and this issue has remained a major concern. Many teenagers may be prescribed opioids to find relief from the pain of dental surgery, serious sports injuries, or cancer. Prescription medications are some of the most commonly misused drugs amongst teens, and are also at risk for being mixed with alcohol or other drugs.
Some children may be prescribed opioids but accidentally take more than recommended, leading them to dependency. If the parents of the child do not closely monitor the correct dosage or give their child more than they need, it could lead the child to addiction later down the road. If a child becomes addicted to opioids, the withdrawal symptoms can be dangerous for them. This includes restlessness, muscle and bone pain, sleeping issues, diarrhea, vomiting, cold flashes and goosebumps, and involuntary leg movements.
Children who are typically risky and impulsive are at elevated risk for misusing opioids – but so are children on the opposite end, who are very cautious and anxious. The best way to help children avoid misuse of prescription medication and other drugs is to pay close attention to them and give them the tools they need to overcome their problems. Monitor their usage of any medicine prescribed to them, and avoid sharing any medication that is not prescribed directly to them.
If you are afraid that your child may be addicted to opioids or any other drug, the first step is to contact a doctor for help. Seeking the guidance of a health care professional means that your child will be on the road to recovery. There are many sources of support for those who need it and treatment is available to set your child on a healthier path.
Recovery is yours when you start to do the work. At a treatment facility in the New Vista Behavioral Health family, you will be supported with staff and programming held to higher standards, providing exceptional care for better outcomes. Life is yours for living. Start making a change today by calling: 866-926-1498