Specialists unveil a new study on the terrible effects of the opioid epidemic among children and adolescents. Between 2000 and 2015, poison control centers in the US have received about 188,468 calls regarding prescription opioid exposure among teenagers and kids. Thus, there were registered about 11,700 calls every year regarding poison control centers.
In the US the opioid epidemic has severely affected young people
Dr. Marcel Casavant, the chief of toxicology at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and also the medical director of the Central Ohio Poison Center in Columbus, stated that scientists are aware that the United States is in the middle of an opioid epidemic which continues to spread. The new study which was recently developed indicates how opioids and painkillers such as oxycodone and hydrocodone impact children and teenagers.
Casavant argued that some information provided by the National Poison Data System suggests that children even younger than the age of five came in contact with these dangerous drugs through “exploratory exposures,” meaning swallowing a pill which they find somewhere in the house or on the floor, without knowing what it is.
Some people may now use even stronger drugs than opioids, like heroin
Kids with ages between six and twelve years old are most likely the victims of medication errors. For instance, some may receive an extra dose, or they may be given the wrong dose of treatment from the beginning. The study reveals that the calls concerning young adults and teenagers were mostly regarding drug abuse or suicide attempts. The new study was published on March 20 in the journal Pediatrics online, reporting that the opioid epidemic in teenagers and kids started spreading, increasing almost 86% between 2000 and 2009. Nevertheless, between 2009 and 2015, the number of opioid intoxication cases dropped.
Casavant explained that this decline might indicate that specialists are more careful now when prescribing opioids. What is more, parents are trying harder and getting better at keeping pills out of their infants’ reach. This decrease may also suggest that some may have switched to even more dangerous drugs, like heroin, when opioids are difficult to get.
Casavant stated that despite this downfall, in 2015, the number of opioids exposure among adolescents and kids was higher compared to 2000. Moreover, he points out that all the data analyzed by his team only accounts for the exposures to opioids which were reported to poison control centers. Unfortunately, these terrible drugs are sometimes used by kids without them even knowing that they had compromised their health.
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