We’ve long known that this horrible opioid abuse epidemic that’s become such a scourge to society cuts across demographic lines: No strata of society seems immune. Now, we find out that even toddlers are being touched by this problem. The number of small children and teens sent to hospital because of poisoning from the drugs nearly doubled, according to a study that bills itself as the first to look at the rate of opioid poisoning in children and teens. In the study, published yesterday in JAMA Pediatrics researchers looked at more than 13,000 pediatric discharge records from 1997 to 2012.
“Hospitalization rates were highest in older adolescents, but the largest percentage increase in hospitalizations over time occurred among the youngest children (toddlers and preschoolers),” the study states. The increase in hospitalizations for prescription and opioid poisoning for children aged 1 to 19 was 165%; but among children aged 1 to 4 it rose 205%.
“Hospitalizations increased across all age groups, yet young children and older adolescents were most vulnerable to the risks of opioid exposure,” the study states. “Mitigating these risks will require comprehensive strategies that target opioid storage, packaging, and misuse.”
Source: JAMA Pediatrics