Children Poisoned by Opioids Every Year

Recovery Rehabs Children Poisoned by OpioidsAn estimated 38 percent of Americans use opioids. Tens of thousands of them die as a result of both addiction and overdose. A large percentage of those who consume these drugs, and often lose their lives to them, may be children.

An estimated 12,000 children and teens are poisoned by opioids every year, according to a report published in the journal Pediatrics. Some overdoses are intentional; many happen accidentally.

Dr. Gary Smith and colleagues at Nationwide Children’s Hospital checked poison control center data to learn how many kids and teenagers took prescription meds but weren’t in enough immediate danger to be taken to a hospital.

Over a 15-year period, over 30 calls per day were made to poison control on behalf of children under the age of 20. Overall, 188,468 opioid overdoses were documented, the majority of which occurred at someone’s home.

The report also states that one in four high school seniors in the United States has been exposed to opioids, either medically or non-medically. Unfortunately, these exposures increase a person’s likelihood of using illegal substances in the future. Small children are more likely to accidentally overdose on buprenorphine, a prescription drug taken to help treat opioid addiction. Teens, however, are more likely to intentionally abuse opioids.

Research suggests most teens who end up abusing prescription drugs such as opioids were originally prescribed the drugs for legal medical use. The drugs children under 20 overdosed on, according to poison control data, included brand-name prescription medications such as Vicodin, OxyContin and Suboxone.

The authors of the report suggest several methods for preventing overdoses in both children and teens. Individually packaged medications can make it less likely for children to grab and swallow a handful of pills. Adults should keep track of any medications given to their teens, as a large percentage of them obtain opioids from their friends.


Did you know an addiction can be caused by a mental disorder?

One of the primary reasons that mental disorders and substance abuse so often go hand-in-hand is that drugs and alcohol can provide an escape from the pressures of mental health problems. Self-medicating is surprisingly common: you’re not alone.
But unlike real, effective, long-term solutions, such as medication and detoxification in a treatment center, drugs and alcohol won’t amount to effective treatment.
If you suspect that your loved one is suffering from addiction, then take our free 3 minute assessment.

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  • Shaun

    This is truly an epidemic in America.