Opioid Overdose Among Children Nearly Doubles, DOJ Creates Task Force
07 March, 2018, 07:23 | Author: Wilson Dawson
The study authors, from the University of Chicago Medicine, the Children's Hospital Association and Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, wrote that total financial costs associated with pediatric opioid overdoses also grew from 2004 to 2015. The researchers did not know what hospitals were involved, but a lead author of the study said information from Children's Hospital of Philadelphia is often included in the database. Those age 12 to 17 made up 60 percent of opioid overdose admissions; the second-largest group was between one and five years old.
The number of hospitalizations requiring intensive care almost doubled between 2012 to 2015, rising from 797 patients between 2004 and 2007 to 1,504 patients during the most recent time frame analyzed. At least 42.9 percent of the hospitalized patients required admission to pediatric ICU while others were supported with mechanical ventilator and vasopressors.
"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".
Around 2 million Americans have an opioid use disorder, according to federal estimates.
Robin Parsons, Chief Clinical Officer at Fairbanks Addiction Treatment Center, says she's also not surprised at the increased number of child hospitalizations.
Young children accidentally ingest opioids due to curiosity while adolescents and teenagers are more likely to have intentional ingestions, either for recreational purposes or for self-harm. It can also be used as a prescription painkiller. They found that between 2004 and 2015, there were a total of 3,647 opioid-related hospitalizations in 31 different hospitals. Synthetic opioid overdoses killed 20,000 people in 2016, the CDC says. Among the most commonly abused opioids include prescription painkillers such as Vicodin and OxyContin, as well as illegal drugs like heroin.
The study took the most recent look at the opioid epidemic sweeping the United States.
"It's certainly not uncommon for the people we treat here, the adults we treat here, to have children in their home", Parsons said.
But parents of older kids also need to keep a watchful eye over any prescription opioids, Ryan stressed.
Reasons for the increases are unclear but it could be that drugs became more widely available and potent during the study years, Kane said.
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