Evidence-Based Reviews

Opioid use disorder in adolescents: An overview

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Following inpatient hospitalization, during 12 weeks of partial hospital treatment, Ms. L participates in individual psychotherapy sessions 5 days/week; family therapy sessions once a week; and experiential therapy along with group sessions with other peers. She undergoes medication evaluations and adjustments on a weekly basis. Ms. L is now working at a store and is pursuing a high school equivalency certificate. She manages to avoid high-risk behaviors, although she reports having occasional cravings. Ms. L is actively involved in Narcotics Anonymous and has a sponsor. She has reconciled with her mother and moved back home, so she can stay away from her former acquaintances who are still using.

Bottom Line

Adolescents with opioid use disorder can benefit from an individualized treatment plan that includes psychosocial interventions, pharmacotherapy, or a combination of the two. Treatment planning should include the adolescent and his/her family to ensure they are able to verbalize their expectations. Treatment should focus on interventions that strengthen interpersonal relationships and assist with rehabilitation. Ongoing follow-up care is necessary for maintaining abstinence.

Related Resource

Drug Brand Names

Buprenorphine • Subutex, Sublocade
Buprenorphine/naloxone • Suboxone
Clonidine • Clorpres
Methadone • Methadose
Naloxone • Narcan
Oxycodone • OxyContin
Sertraline • Zoloft
Tramadol • Ultram
Trazodone • Desyrel, Oleptro


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