Childhood Opioid Overdoses Nearly Doubled In Last 10 Years

Faith Castro
March 7, 2018

The new study found a similar increase in patients requiring intensive treatment, rising from 367 to 643 in the final years.A small fraction of the almost 4.2 million hospitalizations of children during the study involved opioids, but 43 percent of these opioid-related stays required intensive treatment.

"Every time you put a child in a pediatric ICU bed, you're using a very limited resource", lead study author and Comer Children's Hospital professor Jason Kane said, CNN reported.

MONDAY, March 5, 2018 (HealthDay News) - Nationally, the rate of hospitalization and pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) admission for opioid ingestions increased from 2004 to 2015, according to a study published online March 5 in Pediatrics.

In the United States, the opioid consumption has increased in the last years and there is no sign it will get lower soon. That includes abuse of prescription painkillers such as Vicodin and OxyContin, as well as illegal drugs like heroin.

The study, found in the Pediatrics journal, examined the number of children between the ages of one and 17 who were taken to the hospital for opioid-related overdoses.

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"In this study, we demonstrate a significant and steady increase in the diagnosis of opioid ingestion and poisoning across all age groups in USA children's hospitals from 2004 to 2015. We will use whatever tools we have to hold people accountable for breaking our laws", said Sessions. More alarmingly, close to 2% of the children who overdosed died.

Dr. Sheryl Ryan is chief of adolescent medicine at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.

"Current efforts to reduce prescription opioid use in adults have not curtailed the incidence of pediatric opioid ingestion, and additional efforts are needed to reduce preventable opioid exposure in children", the authors wrote.

Prescription opioids such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, and morphine are powerful painkillers. She said there is also more sensitivity to the opioid problem, which may have an impact on data available. If they are expired or no longer being used, experts recommend taking them to a pharmacy or a facility that can appropriately dispose of them. "They are, at no fault of their own, being poisoned by drugs that are in their home, and they're in the home because of this national adult opioid crisis". "I think parents often underestimate the power of communicating their values to their kids".

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