“Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.”
1 Thessalonians 2:8
Opioid use is rapidly increasing in the United States, and opioid use among teenagers is one of the most lethal and devastating aspects of this epidemic. The thousands of teenagers struggling with this addiction are at a much greater risk of lifelong use and overdose, and studies show that the opioid crisis among teens is getting much worse. Opioid abuse rates among teens increased by 19 percent from 2014 to 2015, and 21,000 teens reportedly used heroin in 2015. Studies also found that a major factor of teen abuse is due to the easy accessibility through doctors, drug dealers, or the internet.
Another major factor is a teen’s previous history of mental, behavioral, or emotional disorders. Teenagers who face such challenges may escape their feelings by using opioids, but the dopamine’s effects on their brain are only temporary. Increased amounts are then required to achieve the same euphoria, which puts the teen at great risk for dependence or overdose. Warning signs of this addiction are sometimes subtle, which can often make it challenging for a parent to identify that their teen has a problem. Some more noticeable signs include getting in trouble with school or the law, finishing prescription medications prematurely, a decrease in academic performance, or withdrawing from family and friends. Treatment becomes more difficult as the addiction progresses, so early treatment is essential for teens who are struggling.
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