Nonfatal opioid overdose is a significant predictor for recurrent nonfatal and fatal opioid overdoses. Young adults (under age 25) have been disproportionately affected by the opioid epidemic, as data indicates that drug overdose deaths nearly quadrupled nationally between 1999 and 2016 in young adults between 15 and 24 years old. Research shows that young adults have distinct developmental differences that predispose them to substance use disorders, which requires strategically designed interventions to engage and retain them in treatment.
"Given that the reward and positive reinforcement systems are more advanced than inhibitory systems among young adults, it is imperative to engage them in treatment as early as possible to help prevent a disorder, or worse," said Sarah Bagley, MD, the study's lead author and a pediatrician and internist at Boston Medical Center who specializes in addiction.
Researchers - Study - Individuals - Years - Overdose
Researchers conducted this retrospective study of 15,281 individuals who were 18-45 years old and survived an opioid-related overdose in Massachusetts between January 1, 2012 and December 31, 2014. To qualify, participants must have had an ambulance encounter or emergency department, inpatient hospital, or outpatient observation discharge that included an ICD 9 diagnosis code for opioid poisoning. The groups were stratified by age: 18-22 years old (1,209 individuals); 22-25 years old (3,059 individuals); and 26-45 years old (11,013 individuals). The three FDA-approved medications to treat opioid use disorder examined in the study included oral/injectable naltrexone, buprenorphine and methadone.
"This analysis took advantage of a unique tool developed by DPH that enabled us and many other partners to focus on specific high risk populations," said Dana Bernson, director of special analytic projects at DPH. "These results highlight the importance of...
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