Youth and the Opioid Epidemic

May 3, 2022
View Resource
Sharon Levy

Levy discusses the historical trends of American opioid usage, with a particular emphasis on the legislation that was passed during periods of higher prevalence. These include the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906, the Harrison Drug Act of 1914, the Narcotic Addict Treatment Act (1974), and the Drug Addiction Treatment Act (2000). Since most of this legislation was targeted toward adults, Levy contends that there should be more addiction treatment services available for youth and adolescents, particularly in the primary care setting. Levy states that training pediatricians to integrate opioid addiction services will increase their confidence in treating opioid use disorder (OUD) and an array of other substance use disorders and that well trained pediatricians will also be better prepared for future substance use epidemics, especially if they are trained alongside addiction specialists.