Parenting becomes more challenging when a son or daughter becomes addicted to drugs, and with opioid addiction reaching epidemic consequences, preventing a fatal overdose should become a priority.
Prescription painkillers, fentanyl and heroin have pushed the opioid epidemic to the forefront of national crises. All forms of drugs claimed over 64,000 lives in 2016 alone, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is more than the 58,220 American lives the Vietnam war claimed over its nearly 20-year span.
“Parents who are faced with the possibility of an opioid-addicted child should first seek to speak to an addiction counselor or social worker that has experience in handling opioid-specific addictions in order to assess how to conduct a dialogue about helping their offspring seek help band treatment for their addiction,” said Ivette Torres, associate director of consumer affairs at Center for Substance Abuse Treatment within the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Parents can take precautionary measures to prevent their children from becoming a statistic, however, the Partnership For Drug-Free Kids believes the immediate goal should be to inspire their son or daughter to pursue immediate addiction treatment.
“Parents need to also minimize the risk of enabling the addiction by assessing how the child is getting the money to sustain their habit,” Torres said. “The latter may require that the parents speak to family and friends about the situation so other members of the family or friends become the source of sustaining the addiction.”
Preventing a fatal overdose should remain highly prioritized beginning with a safety plan designed to put in place precautionary measures to minimize the risk of an accidental overdose.
“Withdrawal from opioids isn’t typically life-threatening in healthy people with ready access to fluids and nutrition,” Torres said. “Relapse after withdrawal from opioids is extremely dangerous so treatment with medication whether in a rehab setting or intensive outpatient program should be considered.”
“An addictions professional at a licensed program should conduct a full evaluation and provide treatment options for the parents and child to consider,” she added.
Naloxone — a remedy for reversing an opioid overdose — can become a critical item in a safety plan. Also known as Narcan, the medication is easily applied intranasally and is widely available at drugstores countrywide.
“It’s imperative for all parents to be aware of the option to administer Naloxone in an emergency overdose situation,” Torres said. “Parents who suspect their child of using opioids should immediately seek and get trained on its use to try and avert an overdose death.”
The Partnership For Drug-Free Kids also emphasizes the dangers of fentanyl, an opioid that is between 50 to 100 times more… (continue reading)