It I very serious that the most affected people in the world do not get the drugs intended to help them. Where do these drugs go then? What happens to them? A study shows that in every four teens and young adults abusing opioid, only one is taking medication. Why is this? It is because there is no initiative to get the drugs to the people who need most.

Here is what the study entailed

It was reported in JAMA Pediatrics that the number of young Americans who have opioid use disorder has become six times bigger from 2001 to 2014. Only a few of these patients bothered to get medication to treat their addiction after half a year since their diagnosis.

The head of the project Dr. Scot Hadland, said that the drugs help treat withdrawal, cravings and reduce chances of relapse and are very effective in treating opioid use disorder. Hadland goes on to say that offering medications early is important since it prevents one from being harmed by the addiction.

Hadland and his team assessed health insurance claims information for more than ten million young adults for years 2001 to 2014

Almost twenty thousand young people in the research were diagnosed with opioid use disorder and only about five thousand and six hundred of them got medication.

Most of the abusers got buprenorphine, which helps by reducing cravings by affecting the same parts of the brain that the addictive opioids target while the minority took naltrexone, which treats addiction.

With the introduction of buprenorphine, anti-addiction drugs prescriptions increased but would begin to fall as the addiction rates increased.

The study also found that age, gender, and race affect the number of people who take medication; the older teens, males, and whites are more likely to take medication.

The study faced limitation when it came to telling the severity of the addiction, which sometimes affects if one gets medication. The study was solely based on health insurance data, which means it did not cover those with other benefits, or those not insured.

Despite this, the study managed to emphasize the importance of considering medication of young people with opioid use disorder, said Brendan Saloner, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Why every patient should get medication

Saloner said that every patient should get treatment whether they end up using them or not. In an era with even CPR, this should be very possible.

He went on to show how expensive the medicine is and how that is a barrier sometimes but even so, the medication should always be given. Dr. Constance Houck wasn’t in the study but he said that it is necessary to treat opioid addiction with medication due to the neurologic changes that happen in the brain.

He also notes that it is important due to the adventurous nature of young people, which makes them more vulnerable to addiction.