Medication for Adolescents and Young Adults With Opioid Use Disorder The Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine

Hadland S. E. , Aalsma M. C. , AKGÜL S. , Alinsky R. H. , Bruner A., Chadi N., ...More

JOURNAL OF ADOLESCENT HEALTH, vol.68, no.3, pp.632-636, 2021 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 68 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2020.12.129
  • Page Numbers: pp.632-636


Opioid-related morbidity and mortality have risen in many settings globally. It is critical that practitioners who work with adolescents and young adults (AYAs) provide timely, evidence-based treatment for opioid use disorder (OUD). Such treatment should include medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD), including buprenorphine, naltrexone, and methadone. Medication treatment is associated with reduced mortality, fewer relapses to opioid use, and enhanced recovery and retention in addiction care, among other positive health outcomes. Unfortunately, the vast majority of AYAs with OUD do not receive medication. The Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine recommends that AYAs be offered MOUD as a critical component of an integrated treatment approach. Barriers to receipt of medications are widespread; many are common to high-, middle-, and low-income countries alike, whereas others differ. Such barriers should be minimized to ensure equitable access to youth-friendly, affirming, and confidential addiction treatment that includes MOUD. Robust education on OUD and medication treatment should be provided to all practitioners who work with AYAs. Strategies to reduce stigma surrounding medication-and stigma experienced by individuals with substance use disorders more generally-should be widely implemented. A broad research agenda is proposed with the goal of expanding the evidence base for the use and delivery of MOUD for AYAs. (C) 2020 Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine. All rights reserved.