Treatment Regimen for Dealing with Opioid Abuses among Young Adults

What is the effectiveness of medication-assisted treatment regimen as compared to psychosocial intervention for treating opioid abuse among young adults aged 24-40?

Population (P) – Young adults aged 24-40 years with identified opioid abuse and dependence

Intervention (I) – Medical-assisted Treatment regimen involving the use of replacement drugs such as methadone and buprenorphine

Comparison (C) – Psychosocial intervention

Outcomes (O) – Reduced opioid dependence

Timeframe (T) – During therapy period

Opioid dependence is a major public health problem even at the global levels. The illicit use of opiates leads to the increased global burden of disease which may end up resulting in a premature disability or even death. At the global level, between 24-64 million adults are found to abuse this drug. In North Carolina, it is estimated that the number of deaths associated with the opioid abuse has changed from about 100 in 1999 to approximately 1200 deaths in 2016. Opioids such as heroin, morphine, and other prescription pain relievers have continued being overused especially by the young adults. This leads to the widespread phenomenon of opioid dependence. Among the proposed method of reducing this dependence is by use of medication-assisted treatment. The effectiveness of this treatment regimen will be compared with the effects of the psychosocial intervention (Sutfin, Song, Reboussin, & Wolfson, 2014).

     The two nursing interventions that will be considered in this are; medication-assisted treatment regimen and psychosocial intervention. The medication-assisted interventions include the use of opioid substitution therapy where replacement drugs such as methadone and buprenorphine are administered orally in a supervised clinical setting. The effectiveness of this program is measured regarding reducing opiate use, HIV risk behaviors, preventing death from overdose, and reduced criminal activity. Methadone properties such as slow onset upon being orally taken and has a long elimination half-life make it best applied a maintenance therapy or detoxification agent. It is given in doses of about 80-150mg which begins with a daily dose of 20-30mg and increased with additions of either 5 or 10mg until the recommended dose is attained (Stotts, Dodrill, & Kosten, 2009). Buprenorphine drug is classified as a Schedule III drug there legalizing its use in the US by qualified physicians to be used for treating opioid dependence (Stotts, Dodrill, & Kosten, 2009).

The other nursing intervention whose effectiveness in dealing with opioid dependence will be assessed is psychosocial intervention. This includes the non-pharmacological interventions applied to help the young adults engaged in abuse of opioids. The nursing practices used in this intervention include cognitive behavior therapy, motivational interviewing, and relapse prevention. The psychosocial interventions are aimed at creating changes in the addict’s drug use patterns. Evidence base regarded in this issue indicate that effectiveness of this treatment regimen is measured regarding reduction in and abstinence of the substance being abused as well as improvements in functional areas such as physical health, psychological health, HIV and hepatitis risk behaviors, interpersonal relationships and criminal behavior (Jhanjee, 2014).

Studies conducted in the US on buprenorphine effectiveness have supported it’s by highlighting the effects on the retention intervals. The use of Buprenorphine is considered regarding treatment methods including injection and oral opioid with results being mixed in terms of the route of administration that is most effective.

The prevalence of young adults aged from 24-40 years engaged in opioid abuse has contributed to need of developing a treatment regimen. To address this situation, this PICOT statement seeks to address the most effective treatment regimen for medication-assisted treatment and psychological treatment.


Jhanjee, S. (2014). Evidence Based Pyschological Interventions in Substance Use. Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine, 112-118.

Stotts, A., Dodrill, C., & Kosten, T. (2009). Opioid Dependence Treatment: Options in Pharmacotherapy. Expert Opinion Pharmacotherapy, 1727-1740.

Sutfin, E. L., Song, E. Y., Reboussin, B. A., & Wolfson, M. (2014). What are young adults smoking?

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