Last week the Journal of the American Medical Association -Pediatrics (JAMA-Pediatrics) published research that indicated youth with an opiods-use disorder are less likely to receive medication-assisted treatment despite its positive effect in encouraging on-going substance abuse treatment.

The research, Receipt of Timely Addiction Treatment and Association of Early Medication Treatment with Retention in Care among Youths with Opioid Use Disorder, found that
“ 1 of 21 adolescents younger than 18 years and 1 of 4 young adults aged 18 to 22 years received medication for opioid use disorder within 3 months of diagnosis.”

This was the case even though youth receiving buprenorphine and those using naltrexone were 42 percent and 46 percent respectively less likely to stop treatment. The study examined data and information on young people below age 18 and young people between the age of 18 through 22. There is growing evidence that when an individual has an opioid addiction the possibility of that individual staying in drug treatment is increased when that person receives a medication such as buprenorphine, naltrexone, or methadone. It help address the addiction while undergoing a treatment program.

The study concludes:
“The finding that medications were provided to only approximately 1 of 4 youths presenting for care overall, including only 1 of 21 adolescents, highlights a crucial potential opportunity to improve OUD care and enhance retention in treatment. As deaths from overdose increase among US youths, it is vital that clinicians, researchers, and policy makers ensure that access to evidence-based OUD medications for young people remains a national priority.”