A 14-year-old boy found acetaminophen-hydrocodone in his parents’ medicine cabinet and took it out of curiosity. He liked how the pills made him feel and progressed to daily use of prescription opioids. At age 15 years, he was prescribed a short course of acetaminophen-oxycodone for a back injury due to wrestling. After the prescription ended, he continued to seek prescription opioids from illicit sources, taking them almost daily. He was briefly sent to juvenile detention after being caught selling opioids. For the next 3 years he abstained from opioids but drank alcohol socially and smoked cigarettes. At age 19 years, he tried heroin with a friend and began using the drug daily. Today, he describes the experience as “spiritual… when I took the drug, it felt like I had found a deep calling.” He began selling heroin to fund his habit.
Tyler PD, Larochelle MR, Mafi JN. Access to Prescription Opioids—Primum Non NocereA Teachable Moment. JAMA Intern Med. 2016;176(9):1251-1252. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.3926