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Opioid Treatments Costly, Inaccessible to Teens

As overdose deaths continue to increase among teens, treatment for opioid use disorder remains limited, reports USA Today. Few facilities exist nationwide and they are often unaffordable for families whose children are struggling with opioid addiction. A study found that families must navigate a complex web of addiction treatment services as they try to avoid another overdose. The study comes as fentanylhas driven an increase in adolescent overdose deaths. Researchers found centers for adolescents had long waitlists, with an average wait for a bed of about a month. The wait tended to be longer for more affordable public facilities than for pricier private centers. The average cost was $878 per day and an average up-front cost of $28,731.

The study also found vast wastelands in the U.S. where people couldn't find or access treatment centers for a young person. Ten states and Washington, D.C., had no treatment facilities available, and many states lacked teen facilities. Only seven states met all the criteria the researchers were looking for: they accepted Medicaid, had an open bed and had buprenorphine, a drug to treat opioid use disorder, on hand. There’s a misconception among some parents that if they send their child to a residential treatment center, the problem will be fixed and won't recur. The whole community has to be involved when a child reenters after drug treatment, said Terrence Walton of AADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals. Families should be connected with recreational centers, mentoring programs and physicians and counselors who can track their child's progress.


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