PMP Blog

The PMP Blog offers updates and resources for providers who use the PMP. The posts include timely information and guidance for effective use of the PMP to improve communication and patient-centered care.

Nov 2023

How Physicians Can Help Prevent Opioid Misuse in Youth

The opioid crisis is harming Texas youth and young adults at an alarming rate. Texas physicians of all disciplines have a critical role to play in preventing misuse, addiction and overdose related to prescription opioids. Even if you don’t often prescribe opioids, it is important to talk with young patients and their parents about the dangers of opioid misuse.

Texas Youth Are at Risk

One in three people in treatment for opioid use disorder report their first use of opioids occurred before age 18, and two in three report it occurred before age 25. Teenagers and young adults may misuse prescription opioids for many reasons, including curiosity, peer pressure or to alleviate pain from an injury, especially one that’s sport related. Opioids may also be easier to obtain from friends or relatives than other drugs.

Prescription opioids are highly addictive and can be dangerous when taken in a way other than as prescribed. Misuse, including taking more than prescribed, taking someone else's medication or any non-medical use, can put a person at increased risk of physical dependence, addiction, overdose and death.

Talking About Opioid Misuse with Young Patients

It’s critical to ensure that young patients and their families are fully aware of the risks of opioid misuse and fentanyl poisoning from counterfeit pills. Make sure to discuss the following:

Take medications exactly as prescribed. Never increase, cut back or stop taking prescription medication before talking to a doctor, and avoid mixing them with alcohol and other drugs.

Never share prescriptions. From different dosage needs to potential side effects, sharing a prescription, even with friends or family, may cause serious harm.

Only trust medications that come from a pharmacy. Even if a pill comes from a friend, your patient can’t be sure of the original source. If they don’t get opioids directly from a pharmacy, they can’t know for sure what’s in them.

Naloxone can save a life. Keeping it on hand could mean the difference between life and death, for your patient or someone else. Naloxone is available at many Texas pharmacies without a prescription.

Consider also discussing the risk of fentanyl poisoning linked to counterfeit pills. Youth and young adults are increasingly buying counterfeit pills that may be contaminated with a potentially fatal dose of fentanyl. Even a small amount of fentanyl can be deadly. That means that any pill could be the one that causes an overdose. Learn more at

Be sure to talk with parents as well, communicating the points listed above, so that they can continue the conversation at home.

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Youth and OUD

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