By Andy Steiner
April 22, 2016

It has to start somewhere. It’s true that white, middle-aged male Minnesotans are most likely to die of an opioid overdose, but if we want to truly stem the tide of addiction and death, Dr. Joseph Lee, medical director for youth continuum at Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, believes that we need to set our sights on the young.

“The teen and young adult years are when addiction really begins,” Lee said. “We can’t lose sight of that if we want to make a difference.”

A spokesperson for the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Lee explained that youth drug use is too often overlooked, or dismissed as developmentally appropriate experimentation. He wants us to shift the way we think about drug use and the young.

“If we don’t invest money in prevention and early intervention,” Lee said, “we are just waiting for a new crop of young people to incubate in the school system. We have to put the priority on youth intervention, before a new, highly addictive drug comes along. Then we will regret the mistakes we made in the past.”

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2016-06-22T10:45:05+00:00