Stories about: Adolescent Substance Abuse Program

Teens and opioids: Time for an open conversation

woman shooting heroin

National surveys have found that teens today are much less likely to use alcohol and drugs compared to their parents’ generation. In fact, the proportion of high school seniors who chose not to use alcohol, tobacco, marijuana or other drugs has increased from 3 percent to 25 percent in the last thirty years. This remarkable good news is overshadowed by the growing number of teens who are daily marijuana users and the recent increase in opioid-related deaths among young people. It is important to understand the roots of this discrepancy in order to address it.

Statistics show that between 2014 and 2015, the rates of drug overdoses — mainly due to opioids — increased by 19 percent in teens, and are now double what they were in 1999, proving that young people are an important part of the equation. We know that most adults with addiction problems started using when they were teens and those with opioid use disorders are no exception. As a pediatrician and adolescent health specialist, I see this as both a challenge and an opportunity.

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4 things you and your teen may not know about marijuana — but should

4 things to know about marijuana

Massachusetts is now among eight U.S. states to legalize marijuana for adult (21+) recreational use, a decision that’s created a relaxed stance on use of the drug and left many parents worried. The simple, clear and empowering message we suggest parents share with teens is that avoidance of marijuana is best and here’s why.

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5 things to know about talking to your kids about heroin (and other drugs)

Dadboywalking (3)The news seems to be everywhere — misuse of prescription pain medication has led to an epidemic of opioid addiction. And the phenomenon is occurring in both teens and adults.

Every day, 2,500 American youth use a prescription pain reliever without a prescription for the first time, according to Foundation for a Drug-free World.

Many teens who misuse pain medication will lose control over use — the hallmark of addiction. Eventually, some will switch to heroin, which is the same class of drug as prescription pain medication but much stronger.  Dr. Sharon Levy, director of the Boston Children’s Hospital Adolescent Substance Abuse Program, offers tips to help parents understand the problem and talk to their kids about drugs and alcohol.

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