Non-opioid pain management has begun to gather steam as a viable alternative for many adults who have either misused opioids in the past or want to avoid that possibility. Now, parents are beginning to recognize the risks of opioid use by their children and to seek non-opioid alternatives when their children need to manage pain.
Opioid Use In Children Leads to More Misuse as Adults
When deciding whether to allow your children to take opioid painkillers after an injury or a surgery, it is important to know how that might impact their future use (or misuse) of the drugs. A 2015 study found that 12th graders who took prescribed opioids for to deal with pain were 33 percent more likely to misuse them by age 23, even when they had no history of previous substance abuse and had strong feelings against illegal drug use.
These risks may cause parents to explore alternatives to opioid painkiller use, such as NSAIDS like ibuprofen in combination with acetaminophen, massage therapy, physical therapy, and ice or heat. No parent likes to see their child in pain, but a little more pain short-term may prevent a lot more pain later in life if they begin to misuse opioids.
Children with chronic, severe pain who do take opioids can be monitored for signs of dependency and the time period during which they take the drugs can be limited to lessen the chances of their becoming dependent on opioids as they use them.
There are alternatives to opioids even for post-operative or chronic pain.
Colorado Wants to Prevent Future Opioid Abuse by Children
No one wants to see children become dependent on opioids, and the state of Colorado is no exception. As the state implements new legislation aimed at reducing prescriptions for opioid medications and reducing the duration patients can be taking the drugs except under extreme circumstances, it also wants to encourage parents to seek other options before allowing their children to take opioid medications.
Speak Now Colorado is an initiative that teaches parents to talk to their children about drugs and to adults like doctors and medical professionals to get more information about opioid use and its possible risks. The program will feature prevention programs that are still in the planning stages to get the message out that opioid use among children can lead to a greater incidence of misuse and that it should be avoided where possible.
Kent MacLennan of the advocacy groups SpeakNowColorado.org and Rise Above Colorado is quick to point out that the organizations do not want to judge parents who do give their children opioids. “It should not be a judgment whether you do or you don’t. I think the important thing is that there is an active dialogue,” MacLennan said.
MacLennan also pointed out that education about the drugs and their effects can help parents make the best decision for their children. “One thing that we do know is that the developing teenage brain is more susceptible to addiction,” he said.
The Recovery Village at Palmer Lake provides Colorado addiction treatment in order to help those who misuse opioids recover and overcome their addiction. Contact us today to discuss treatment options.