Opioid use in children
Limited guidance on opioid use exists in the pediatric population, causing medication safety concerns for pain management in children and adolescents. Opioid misuse and use disorder continue to greatly affect adolescents and young adults in the United States, furthering the apprehension of their use. Pediatric Pharmacy Advocacy Group (PPAG) recommends pharmacists contribute their knowledge to pain management in children, including the discussion of appropriate use of non-opioid alternatives for pain and when to recommend coprescribing of naloxone. PPAG also supports the review of electronic prescription drug–monitoring programs prior to opioid prescribing and dispensing by both prescribers and pharmacists. Education by pharmacists of children and their families regarding proper administration, storage, and disposal, as well as the awareness of opioid misuse and use disorder among adolescents and young adults, is key to prevention. If opioid use disorder is diagnosed, PPAG encourages improved access among adolescents to evidence-based medications including methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone. Furthermore, pharmacists should assist in screening and referral to evidence-based treatment.