Tags: opioid | overdoses | children | double

Opioid Overdoses in Children Almost Double in Past Decade

Opioid Overdoses in Children Almost Double in Past Decade

(Stuart Ritchie/Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Monday, 05 March 2018 02:30 PM

Opioid overdoses in children nearly doubled during the past decade, while the number of deaths from those overdoses fell during that time period, according to a new study.

The study published in the journal Pediatrics found that 1,504 patients ages 1 to 17 were hospitalized with opioid-related diagnoses between 2012 and 2015; between 2004 and 2007 the number was 797, CNN reported.

While 60 percent of the overdoses were in the 12 to 17 age group, it was not immediately clear how many of the children ingested the drugs intentionally and how many were accidental, CNN reported. Children 1 to 5 made up 30 percent of the overdoses as a result of medications being left accessible to children who found them accidentally and ingested them.

The percentage of children who died from overdoses was 2.8 percent between 2004 and 2007, but had dropped to 1.3 percent between 2012 and 2015. These numbers suggested that doctors were getting better at treating pediatric overdose patients, Fortune reported.

Almost half of the overdose victims ended up in a pediatric intensive care unit, which is a concern because of the limited number of PICU beds nationwide.

"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. "And if we fill our pediatric ICU beds with patients who have entirely preventable conditions, we will not be able to give those beds to patients who truly need them for unpreventable medical conditions."

Study authors suggested teaching parents to lock up opioid medications so children couldn't access them, and tighter restrictions on how the medicines could be prescribed, Fortune reported. Non-opioid alternatives to pain management were also recommended.

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The number of children admitted to a hospital with opioid-related diagnoses nearly doubled during the past decade, while the number of deaths from overdoses fell, according to a new study.
opioid, overdoses, children, double
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2018-30-05
Monday, 05 March 2018 02:30 PM
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