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Editorial
August 2017

Closing the Medication-Assisted Treatment Gap for Youth With Opioid Use Disorder

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland
  • 2Department of Mental Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland
JAMA Pediatr. 2017;171(8):729-731. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2017.1269

In years past, an adolescent patient presenting to primary care with symptoms of opioid use disorder (OUD) would have been a highly rare event in most communities. With OUD and fatal overdoses rising among adolescents and young adults (termed youth) over the past 15 years, this scenario has unfortunately become more common. Fatal drug overdoses increased 3.5-fold for youth aged 15 to 24 years from 1999 to 2014.1 Amidst this epidemic, relatively little is known about how primary care clinicians treat youth with OUD. Of particular interest is whether youth receive medication-assisted treatments (MATs), which have been shown to improve quality of life and reduce overdose risk.2

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