Studies Suggest Cautious Optimism About Declines In Teen Opioid Use

21 March, 2017, 02:51 | Author: Eloise Marshall

The drug can cause respiratory depression in children, explains Henry Spiller, director of the Central Ohio Poison Center at Nationwide Children's Hospital and a co-author of the study.

In the time it takes to pronounce this sentence, 53 more prescriptions for opioids will have been filled in the united stated.

The medications leading to the most calls were hydrocodone, oxycodone and codeine.

Rosen made another point: Rural areas of the United States have been hardest hit by the opioid epidemic, and national studies don't reveal what's going on at more local levels.

The study shows 60% of those kids are younger than five years-old. "Calls to poison control centers regarding buprenorphine continue to climb".

Though it gets less press, the opioid epidemic has been hitting teens and children hard, with hospitalization rates for opioid exposures almost doubling for teens and more than doubling for kids under 5 between 1997 and 2012.

The number and rate of exposure to most opioids has been steadily decreasing since 2009. In these cases, the children likely found the drugs while rummaging through the medicine cabinet or other places where the meds are kept.

It's a different story for teens.

A study in the journal "Pediatrics" found the main groups at risk for exposure are curious youngsters under 5 and teenagers, looking to either get high or harm themselves. Over the course of the 16-year study period, the researchers observed a 50 percent increase in the rate of prescription-related suicides among teens. Overall among children exposed to prescription opioids, 6.6 percent experienced serious medical outcomes, including 175 fatalities. "Seventy percent of teenagers who use prescription medications without a physician's order obtain the drugs from friends", the team noted.

The opioid crisis which has been affecting adults has now filtered down to our children. "It's very very risky and if you have opioids your house, you need to lock them up because not only small children can get a hold of them, but also teenagers", Stevens said. The authors noted the disparity was likely linked to a more general lack of access to health treatment among black teens, or a specific under-prescription of appropriate pain management to that group. The doctors in the U.S. began prescribing the medications more often from 1990s over concerns that patients who were in severe pain were not being helped properly. It also provided context about trends in opioid use among high school students using a nationwide annual survey of high school seniors from approximately 135 public and private schools.

"They are the next generation they're the ones that are growing up with parents who are using opioids and they think it's perfectly fine but it's such a unsafe drug whether it's made legally or illegally", Alcohol Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services of Montgomery County spokesperson Ann Stevens said.

After 2009, they started to see a significant decrease - with one exception.

That's concerning because that drug is primarily used to help people addicted to heroin or other opiates, but can be really risky in the hands of children.

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