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Youth Overdose Victims Not Getting Treatment, Study Finds

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A new study has found that less than a third of American adolescents and young adults who experienced a nonfatal overdose were able to get addiction treatment within 30 days. 

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University looked at more than 4 million Medicaid claims records over a seven-year period. They found that fewer than 2 percent of children who experienced an overdose received the care recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics for treating opioid use disorder, which includes medication assisted treatment. Less than a third got any follow-up treatment within 30 days.

A quarter of the nonfatal youth overdoses involved heroin. Children who experienced a heroin overdose were 2 and a half times more likely to overdose again than youths using other opioids.

The researchers estimated that teens and young adults are only a tenth as likely as those over age 25 to get the recommended evidence-based treatment for opioid use disorder. They said the gap may be because substance use disorder is not often considered as a pediatric disease.

The study was published this month in the pediatric journal of the American Medical Association.  


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