Opioid addiction has become an epidemic in our country. A portion of the sufferers of this addiction are children and teens. To fight against this opioid epidemic and cure the addiction in young addicts, local pediatricians have taken it upon themselves to educate themselves in identifying the signs of opioid addiction. Screening young adults for drug abuse was a first for many of the pediatricians. These health professionals gathered at a resort conference room to learn new ways of screening patients for opioid addiction:
One of the new techniques pediatricians learned at this conference is motivational interviewing. It’s easy to tell a patient what to do and what not to do, but the history of this addiction proves how ineffective that is. Motivational interviewing is a new way of passing on knowledge to patients without lecturing them on the dangers of opioid addiction. Doctors make an effort to motivate their patients to make the right decision and set goals for themselves. This is a much more effective way to get patients to understand the risks of opioid addiction.
Because drugs are always changing, doctors learned the importance of keeping up to date with the new laws. As a way to keep them up to date on the latest laws, they were given lessons on new guidelines for opioid-free surgery, drug testing, and prescriptions. It’s not enough to identify the signs, knowing where they stand on the law as doctors is imperative in the fight against opioid addiction. By keeping up to date with the new opioid laws, pediatricians have a better chance of helping adolescents facing the addiction.
Identifying Early Stages
As opioid misuse begins to increase among adolescents aged 12 to 17, its imperative that pediatricians and health professionals identify the early stages of abuse. Most of these children and teens aren’t finding opioids on the streets or getting them from friends. They are becoming addicted to opioids that were prescribed to them from a doctor. Their addiction could have been avoided completely if pediatricians were able to identify early signs of addiction before giving the prescription. By identifying early signs of substance abuse, doctors will know if an adolescent will be at risk for opioid addiction.
Throughout the conference, doctors were able to go through mock interviews and gain knowledge of new techniques to identify an opioid addiction. They went over screening questions, drug screening tools and resources in their community. The pediatricians and health professionals who attended the conference are dedicated to ending the opioid epidemic.