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Adolescents – Provider Resources

Provider resources on working with adolescents with pain, and resources to share with patients.

The first step in talking to adolescents and teens about their opioid use or abuse/misuse is to speak in a non-judgmental way. Conversations with children/teens flow best when it naturally occurs. Listen if a child/teen talks to you, ask if they’ve thought about what they might need to get better, make sure to keep things confidential, unless it is life threatening, and do not minimize how they are feeling. Offer to help the child/teen start a conversation with their parent(s) if they would like. Also, explain that you can provide advice or guidance, if desired.

For 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or for the Crisis Text Line, text HOME to 741741.

General Guidance on Working with Adolescents & Opioids

Help Prevent Adolescent Medicine Abuse

  • This two-page fact sheet is specifically designed for healthcare providers and provides a snap shot of information on adolescent medicine abuse – the scope of the problem and what as a provider you can do to help.

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services: Opioids and Adolescents

  • For more in depth information, visit this site to learn more about adolescents use of opioids –  the prevalence of misuse, risk and protective factors, how to prevent opioid misuse, and how to get help.

Free CME/CEs: Online Courses on Adolescent Substance Use and Rx Drug Misuse

Access online courses approved for ACCME, ANCC, and ADA credit on:

  • Patient Conversations & Clinical Assessment
  • Addressing Use & Follow Up Practices

American Academy of Pediatrics Resources to Address the Opioid Epidemic

  • This resource from the AAP includes information on policy and physicians education with PediaLink Modules.
  • For more information that complements the NIDA courses listed above, download this 14-page document including research-based clinical strategies to prevent and address adolescent substance use and prescription medication misuse.

NIDA: Screening and Assessment Tools for Adolescents

  • Use this NIDA Screening and Assessment Tools Chart to choose the best-evidence based screening and assessment tools for adolescents.

Driving and Use of Prescription Drugs

NIDA –Drugged Driving

  • Access information on the dangers of drugged driving, drugs linked to drugged driving, populations affected, and steps to prevent drugged driving.

Guidelines on Treatment for Adolescents with Pain

For general guidance on non-opioid and non-pharmacological treatment options for patients in of all ages, visit the Non-Opioid Treatment Options and Non-Pharmacological Treatment Options sections of this toolkit.

WHO Guidelines on the Pharmacological Treatment of Persisting Pain in Children with Medical Illnesses

  • As a health professional, find guidance on the pharmacological management of persisting pain in children with medical illnesses based on the recommendations made by the WHO Guidelines Development Group.
  • For general guidance on non-pharmacological treatment options for patients in pain, please visit the section of this toolkit titled, “Non-Opioid Treatment Options.”

Printable Resources for Adolescent Patients & Parents on Opioid Use


Resources for Adolescents


OPIOIDS: What you and your friends need to know

  • For a quick snap shot of information, youth can review this 4-page handout and find what they need to know about opioids and fentanyl and where to go to get help.

Resources for Parents


Heroin, Fentanyl, & Other Opioids –A Comprehensive Resource for Families with a Teen or Young Adult Struggling with Opioid Use

  • Designed for parents and families, this guide provides information on opioids and the risks associated with their use. Be prepared with the knowledge and skills to spot early use and take action effectively.

Operation Prevention –Parent Toolkit

  • This toolkit equips parents with the knowledge they need on opioids, how medications work, myths and facts on the topic, resources, the common signs of potential opioid misuse and abuse in children and teenagers, and discussion starters.

Supplemental Information: Research on Post-Surgical Opioid Use


Prescription Opioid Use a Concern for Adolescent Surgery Patients

  • Access a summary from a recent publication on the use of opioid prescriptions by adolescents following surgical procedures and the likelihood of continued use.
  • Access the full publication on PubMed.

Opioid Prescriptions for Wisdom Tooth Removal –Research Findings

  • Those who fill an opioid prescription for wisdom tooth removal are nearly three times as likely to keep using. Learn more about a recent study’s findings published in JAMA.
  • Access the full publication in JAMA.

For more information on adolescents with pain, tailored toward patients and families: