America is not the only country fighting a battle against opioid addiction. In Denmark, a disturbing new trend of adolescents as young as 12 experimenting with pills. Teens as young as 15 have sought treatment for being hooked on drugs like Tramadol, Oxycontin, and other opioids.
Experts say the problem is worse than that.
Trend Of Teens Using Opioids Recreationally Is a Wake-Up Call
“This is serious,” said Christina Ekmann, a Danish addiction treatment specialist, who told Euronews about the increased enrollment at her youth addiction center in the town of Greve. Six out of twenty current clients have opioid use disorders. All of them said that tramadol was their drug of choice. “Let’s say they have four friends, then suddenly we’re up to 20-30 young people taking them. And that’s just the ones we know about,” Ekmann told Danish broadcaster TV2.
Experts say that many young people who take the pills use them to relax or cope with anxiety or other mental health issues. However, many pills, including tramadol, will cause withdrawal effects when a person stops using them. Tramadol is also a highly dangerous opioid; if a person builds a tolerance to tramadol and wants to use it more, they are much likelier to overdose. The highest safe dose is only 400 milligrams.
Misusing tramadol, such as taking higher doses or using it more frequently than prescribed, can be extremely dangerous and increase the risk of overdose. A tramadol overdose can cause severe respiratory depression, leading to coma, brain damage, or even death.
World Need to Tackle Teen Substance Use and Mental Health
Many young people describe misusing substances during and after the pandemic to cope with incredible amounts of stress. Teens in Denmark are struggling, just as are teens in America. Experts in Denmark believe that what makes tramadol and other opioids popular among teens is the fact that they are legally prescribed. Because of this, they may not understand how dangerous the drugs can be. (After all, they may reason, a doctor prescribed it.)
The addiction epidemic in America has only recently begun to include teens, who are overdosing at rapid rates in America.
Experts agree that parents need to pay more attention to their teens and address mental health issues when they come up. Teens may not feel like they can talk to their parents, but a therapist may be able to help them begin to cope with their anxiety. They may also be able to assess if a child has a substance use disorder and help families work together to find treatment.