March 17, 2018

Child opioid overdoses have almost doubled since 2004

07 March 2018, 07:23 | Rodolfo Wallace

Men's Health

Study: More kids are ending up in ICUs because of opioids

"Children accidentally getting into medications is not a new phenomenon but this is probably a reflection of the massive amount of drugs, opioid drugs, that are available to children in the community", explained Dr. Kane, one of the study's authors.

The researchers used the information registered by the Pediatric Health Information System Database and noticed more than 3,600 cases of opioid overdose have been registered in more than 30 pediatric hospitals in the US.

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.

The study considered the records of children age one to 17, CNN reports, and found 1,504 opioid overdose admission between 2012 and 2015, an nearly doubling from the 797 between 2004 and 2007. Of those patients, 37% required mechanical ventilators to assist breathing, and 20.3% required medication to raise dangerously low blood pressure.

Robin Parsons, Chief Clinical Officer at Fairbanks Addiction Treatment Center, says she's also not surprised at the increased number of child hospitalizations.

"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.

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So, Ryan said, it is important for providers who prescribe methadone to talk with patients about safely using the medication at home.

Last Updated: March 05, 2018. She also cites a recent estimate that put the total societal cost of opioid overdoses at $504 billion per year-nearly 3% of the US gross domestic product. The opioids cited in the cases ranged from prescription painkillers to heroin and methadone.

Sessions have directed the PIL Task Force to establish a working group to improve coordination and data sharing across the federal government to better identify violations of law and patterns of fraud related to the opioid epidemic; evaluate possible changes to the regulatory regime governing opioid distribution; and recommend changes to laws. Synthetic opioid overdoses killed 20,000 people in 2016, the CDC says.

"We will use criminal penalties".

But while the focus is usually on adults, children have become "the second wave of victims", Kane said.

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