Study Finds Child Opioid Overdoses Doubled in 10 Years

A new study following some 1,500 patients found that the number of children admitted to hospitals in the U.S. because of opioid overdose nearly doubled between 2004 and 2015.

The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, looked at people between the ages of 1 and 17 who were admitted to the hospital for opioid-related reasons. According to an article in Fortune, Children between the ages of 12 and 17 accounted for 60 percent of children admitted for opioid poisoning, but the study did not differentiate between those who ingested opioids accidentally and those who did so on purpose. Children between 1 and 5 were the next most likely, accounting for 30 percent of hospital admissions. The researchers said these cases were probably caused by children finding their parents’ prescribed and non-prescribed opioids.

While the admission rate has increased, the percentage of children who died of opioid overdose fell from 2.8 percent between 2004 and 2007 to 1.3 percent between 2012 and 2015, indicating that doctors are getting better at taking care of opioid patients. Still, the best way to prevent opioid illness and death among children is to prevent them from accessing the drugs in the first place. The authors of the study had some advice about preventing child overdoses, including locking up medication and investing in alternative pain killers. 

Article Source: Fortune