Skip 
Navigation Link
Addictions
Resources
Basic Information
What is Addiction?What Causes Addiction?How Do You Get Addicted?Signs and Symptoms of AddictionTreatment for AddictionReferencesResourcesFrequentlly Asked Questions about Addiction
TestsLatest News
Often, Opioid Abuse Becomes a Family AffairU.S. Courts, Jails Could Be Key Players in Curbing Opioid AbuseSteep Rise in Deaths for People Hospitalized After Opioid ODRisk of Persistent Opioid Use a Concern for Youth After SurgeryFDA Approves Once-Monthly Injection for Opioid AddictionImmediate Access to Opioid Agonists Found Cost-EffectiveOpioid Crisis Hitting Boomers, Millennials HardestTop Anti-Opioid Meds Are Equally Safe, EffectiveAbusing Pot, Booze Lowers Teens' Chances for Success in LifeLethal Dangers Lurk Even After Opioid OD RescueUsing Cocaine? Fingerprints Might TellFentanyl Driving Surge in Fatal U.S. Opioid OverdosesTrump Declares Opioid Epidemic a Public Health EmergencyOpioid Addiction a Danger After Weight-Loss SurgeryU.S. Opioid Painkiller Abuse May Be Leveling OffDrug OD Rate Now Higher in Rural U.S. Than Cities: CDCExtended-Release Naltrexone Promising for Opioid DependenceHealth Tip: Recovering From Substance AbuseMedicare Could Do More to Stem Opioid EpidemicNew Online Tool Aids Search for Alcohol TreatmentHeroin Taking Bigger Share of U.S. Opioid ODsRapid Test for Meth Abuse May Be NearPost-Op Opioids: How Much Is Enough?CDC Launches Opioid Campaign in Hard-Hit StatesERs Prescribing Opioids at Lower Doses, Shorter DurationsAddictive Opioids Common for People on DialysisBooze Often Glorified On YouTube VideosOpioid ODs Have Cut Into U.S. Life Expectancy: CDCAAP: Opioid Dependence/Abuse Public Health Issue for ChildrenSurgery Can Be Trigger for Teen Opioid AbuseFDA Permits Marketing of App to Help Treat Substance AbuseApp to Help Treat Substance Abuse ApprovedFentanyl Drives Rise in Opioid-Linked Deaths in U.S.Opioid Overdoses and Deaths Flooding U.S. HospitalsIncrease in Alcohol Use, High-Risk Drinking in U.S. AdultsAlcohol Use, Abuse on the Rise in U.S.U.S. Opioid Crisis Continues to Worsen'12-Step' Strategy Boosts Success of Teen Drug Abuse ProgramAddiction Drug Underused by Primary Care Docs in U.S.7-Fold Spike Seen in Opioid-Linked Fatal Car CrashesNew Alcohol Screening, Brief Intervention Manual DevelopedOpioid Abuse Down in Younger Americans, But Up Among Older AdultsTreating ADHD May Help Curb Later Drinking, Drug ProblemsNearly 1 in 5 U.S. Adults Has Mental Illness or Drug ProblemCan Fetal Alcohol Damage Be Undone?Hospitalists Have Role to Play in Mitigating Opioid Use DisorderOpioids Second Only to Marijuana in Illicit Drug Abuse RatesEnding U.S. Opioid Abuse Epidemic Will Take Years: ReportMore Research Shows Big Surge in U.S. Opioid Use, AddictionsOpioid Addicts Find It Hard to Avoid Fentanyl
Questions and AnswersLinksBook ReviewsSelf-Help Groups
Related Topics

Anxiety Disorders
Depression: Depression & Related Conditions
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Surgery Can Be Trigger for Teen Opioid Abuse

HealthDay News
by -- Robert Preidt
Updated: Sep 15th 2017

new article illustration

FRIDAY, Sept. 15, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Teens and young adults who have surgery may be at increased risk for opioid painkiller abuse, a new study indicates.

Opioids such as oxycodone (OxyContin) and hydrocodone (Vicodin) are commonly prescribed for pain after surgery.

"And until recently, it was generally believed they were not addictive," said study lead author Dr. Calista Harbaugh. She's a general surgery resident at the University of Michigan Medical School.

"The study is an important step toward recognizing that the [U.S.] opioid epidemic is affecting adolescents and young adults in a major way," Harbaugh said in an American Academy of Pediatrics news release.

For the study, researchers analyzed data from nearly 90,000 privately insured U.S. patients aged 13 to 21 (average age 17) who underwent one of 13 common surgeries in this age group. The patients had no history of opioid painkiller prescriptions before their surgery.

The investigators looked for persistent opioid use -- defined as continued prescription refills 90 to 180 days after the surgical procedure and beyond what is expected after routine surgery.

The overall rate of persistent post-surgical use was nearly 5 percent, ranging from less than 3 percent to more than 15 percent depending on the type of surgery and other factors, the findings showed.

The rate was 0.1 percent in a "control group" of teens and young adults who did not have surgery.

Patients who underwent gallbladder removal and colon surgery had the highest risk of persistent opioid use. Older youth with other chronic conditions, depression, anxiety or prior substance use disorders also had an elevated risk, according to the study.

Recent research has found that many adults become addicted to opioid painkillers after surgery, but this is the first study to suggest this problem also occurs in teens and young adults post-surgery, the researchers said.

"Most adolescents who misuse prescription opioids get the pills from leftover prescriptions of their family, friends, or their own," Harbaugh explained. "We need to make sure that we treat pain after surgery, but it must be balanced with the risk of providing more opioid than necessary to patients and their communities."

The study is scheduled for presentation Sunday at the American Academy of Pediatrics national meeting in Chicago. Research presented at meetings is usually considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on prescription opioids.