Opioid overdoses were noted to have increased amongst children as the prescription drugs are causing almost three times as many hospital admittances.
According to a study released on Monday by the Yale School of Medicine in the American Medical Association Journal JAMA Pediatrics, the number of such cases has registered almost a two-fold increase in the 1997 to 2012 time period.
The results of the study were registered after hospital admittance data was gathered and analyzed by the specialists following the adult opioid addiction crisis.
As some of the opioid overdoses can be considered to have been intentional, some are still accidental events as the children find the prescription drugs on countertops or on medicine cabinets.
Julie Gaither, one of the study researchers, revealed that in a total surprise, the biggest increase amongst opioid overdoses was marked amongst very young children, aged 1 to 4 years old.
As the current epidemic of opioid addictions is driven by chronic pain analgesics, prescription drug-related problems are now the United States’ number 1 cause of injury-related mortality.
The study analyzed the annual incidence for opioid poisonings hospitalization for both numbers, intent, and opioid source.
The numbers revealed a 165 percent increase as during the 16 years period, the numbers rose to 3.71 from 1.40 in the 1 to 19 age groups for the 100,000 children margin.
The team determined that most opioid overdoses in children younger than the age of 6 featured the use of prescription drugs intended for one of the household’s adults. In such cases, opioids were closely followed by another substance, benzodiazepines, as the cause of most poisonings.
Most of these cases were determined to have been accidental overdoses, with the incidence of such cases marking an 82 percent increase in 2012’ 0.31 value, when compared to 1997’s 0.17.
The 15 to 19 age group also revealed a 303 percent rise in the number of accidental poisonings, with the number of intent driven self-injury or overdose increasing by a 140 percent.
Methadone poisonings also registered an alarming increase of 950 percent in the same age group. The drug is considered to be one of the most misused such products as it is used for non-medical purposes.
However, as opioid drugs are less prescribed, the methadone abuse seems to be slowing as well.
The Yale research team warns that current trends seem to indicate that opioid overdoses and prescription drug abuses are most likely going to increase in numbers if measures are not taken.
Amongst possible solutions for the problem are easy to apply options such as keeping the drugs away from kids or a better packaging system.
Another, more important measures will have to be taken towards a better education of both the children and the parents and doctors. Proper knowledge in regards to the issue should help stop the opioid overdoses problem.
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