How effective are maintenance treatments for opiate dependent adolescents (13 to 18 years)?
It is difficult to draft conclusions on the basis of only 2 trials, one of which is very old (published 1973) and of very low quality. One of the possible reasons for the lack of evidence could be the difficulty of conducting trials with young people, due to practical and ethical reasons.
Substance abuse among adolescents (13 to 18 years old) is a serious and growing problem. The most common drugs used by young people worldwide are cannabis and inhalants. Psycho-stimulants (ecstasy and amphetamines), cocaine, LSD, heroin and other opioids are also used. In adults, pharmacotherapy is a necessary and acceptable part of effective treatment for opioid dependence. Among adolescents, medications have been used infrequently and a choice has to be made between detoxification and maintenance treatment.