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Sleep Deficiency Leads to Opioid Abuse?

Kids with Sleep Issues May Grow Into Adult Misusers

A study reported in the journal Sleep posits that adolescents who experience sleep deficiency may develop into adults who misuse prescription opioids. The study, the self-reported National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health followed >12,000 participants over the course of 12 years. Questioned about their adolescent sleep patterns and adult lifetime prescription opioid use, respondents’ answers showed association worth noting. Over half reported poor sleep—whether not getting enough sleep, having unrestful sleep, or experiencing insomnia. Prospectively, reports of any of those three correlated with an increased risk for prescription opioid misuse.

Bad sleep and problematic behaviors…which comes first? That still needs to be examined. The study concluded, “This is the first study to longitudinally link sleep deficiency as an independent risk factor for the development of prescription opioid misuse. Sleep deficiency could be a driver of the opioid crisis affecting young people in the United States. Future studies should determine whether early and targeted sleep interventions may decrease risk for opioid misuse in high-risk patients prescribed opioids for pain.”


Access the journal article.

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