A new pediatric primary care model designed to help teens who are struggling with a substance use disorder is showing promise.
The U.S. health care system has been challenged to address the public’s needs due to the rising rates of substance use disorders across all demographics. But the challenge is specifically demanding when it comes to youths due to the lack of qualified addiction specialists treating teens and young adults, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
Proposed by Dr. Sharon Levy, a representative of the AAP on the American Medical Association Opioid Task Force, the new pediatric primary care model focuses on the fact that all health care providers — including pediatricians — should be fully capable of treating substance use disorders as any other medical condition patients may be struggling with.
A key element of the new pediatric care model is to train pediatricians and doctors prescribing to young adults on medication-assisted treatments.
All doctors who prescribe opioid-based medications for patients receiving opioid use disorder treatment —such methadone or buprenorphine — would also be required to complete a training course of at least eight hours provided by the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Levy has also highlighted the importance of generally “rethinking pediatric care” to address opioid addiction among teens.
In an article published in the international medical journal the Lancet, Levy pointed out that it is during young adulthood and/or adolescence that people are the most likely to struggle with a substance use disorder.
Consequently, she said… (continue reading)