Information for Adults, Parents & Guardians

The Pittsburgh Youth Summit on Opioid Awareness aims to promote healthy choices and educate students about the dangers of opioid use. We encourage parents to utilize the resource links below and learn more about this growing epidemic.

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  Facts about Opioids:

  • In 2016, Allegheny County saw 613 overdose deaths, a 44% increase over 2015.
  • In the United States, at least half of all opioid related deaths involve a prescription opioid.
  • In 2015 in the United States, 276,000 adolescents (12 to 17 years old) were current nonmedical users of pain reliever, with 122,000 having an addiction to prescription pain relievers.*
  • In 2015, an estimated 21,000 adolescents in the United States had used heroin in the past year, and an estimated 5,000 were current heroin users. Additionally, an estimated 6,000 adolescents had heroin a heroin use disorder in 2014.*
  • People often share their unused pain relievers, unaware of the dangers of nonmedical opioid use. Most adolescents who misuse prescription pain relievers are given them for free by a friend or relative.*
  • The prescribing rates for prescription opioids among adolescents and young adults in the United States nearly doubled from 1994 to 2007. *

       *American Society of Addiction Medicine: Opioid Addiction 2016 Facts and Figures


Know the Signs

Many parents are often reluctant to believe that their children may misuse or develop an addiction to prescription opioids. But anyone who experiments with these powerful medications is at risk for negative consequences, including overdose and addiction.

Signs your child may be abusing or misusing opioids:

  • Pills or medication bottles are missing from your home
  • Taking medication in excess of how it has been prescribed
  • Abrupt changes in their finances
  • Dramatic mood changes
  • Lower grades, changes in friends, or changes in sleep or appetite
  • Loss of concern about appearance
  • Physical signs such as fatigue, confusion, weight loss, slurred speech, dizziness and changes in pupil size

SOURCE: MA DPH, Tips for Protecting Your Kids Against Addiction


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Resources for More Information



Prevention Point Pittsburgh
Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs, GET HELP NOW Helpline: 1-800-662-4357
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline (24/7 support): 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
Girls and Boys Town National Hotline 1-800-448-3000
  24 Hours/ 7 Days A Week 


Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs, GET HELP NOW Helpline: 1-800-662-4357
Prevention Point Pittsburgh
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Hotline (24/7 support): 1-800-662-HELP (4357) and Treatment Locator
Pennsylvania Department of Human Services – Centers of Excellence

Information About Addiction and Drug Prevention

Center for Disease Control
US Department of Health and Human Services
American Society of Addiction Medicine
National Institute on Drug Abuse