Opioid Overdoses Nearly Triple Among Kids, Teens in U.S.

Article by CBC News

The rates at which narcotic painkillers have been prescribed have increased dramatically in the U.S. Among children under 10, most painkiller poisonings were with children 'eating them like candy'

The number of young children and teens hospitalized for overdosing on opioid painkillers have spiked nearly threefold in recent years, a new study finds.

Among children under 10, most of the painkiller poisonings were accidental, with children “eating them like candy,” said lead researcher Julie Gaither, a postdoctoral fellow in biostatistics at the Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn. Among teens, most were accidental overdoses, although some were suicide attempts.

In both age groups, the increase in cases involving painkillers like OxyContin, Percocet and Vicodin was dramatic.

Among children aged 1 to 4 years, the number of poisonings went up 205 per cent from 1997 to 2012. For teens 15 to 19, the increase was 176 per cent. Overall, the study showed a 165 per cent increase in poisonings from opioid painkillers among those 19 and younger.

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