The hospitalizations due to pediatric opioid overdose have doubled in the last 14 years, a new research reveals. The new report has just been published in the journal Pediatrics.
More than 3,600 cases of pediatric opioid overdose have been registered
The study’s authors gathered the data over a period of 11 years regarding the opioid overdose-related hospitalizations of kids aged between 1 and 17.
According to the specialists, the pediatric opioid-related hospitalizations have almost doubled since 2004, reaching to approximately 1,500 patients by the end of 2015, in comparison to approximately 800 patients by the end of 2007.
The researchers used the information registered by the Pediatric Health Information System Database and noticed more than 3,600 cases of opioid overdose have been registered in more than 30 pediatric hospitals in the US.
43% out of these 3,600 cases were severe and needed to be admitted to the pediatric ICUs.
Very young children have also been registered with opioid overdoses
Even more, 30% of the cases were young kids and toddlers, aged between 1 and 5, who have also been hospitalized with opioid overdoses.
According to the research’s authors, the majority of these cases were considered to be represented by unintentional ingestions of their parents’ medically prescribed drugs like oxycodone and methadone.
“Children accidentally getting into medications is not a new phenomenon but this is probably a reflection of the massive amount of drugs, opioid drugs, that are available to children in the community,” explained Dr. Kane, one of the study’s authors.
Opioid overdoses can be very serious and may lead to breathing problems, or death, in most severe cases, explained the study’s authors.
The US is facing a huge opioid problem, lately
In the US, the opioid consumption has increased in the last years and there is no sign it will get lower soon. The culprit for this might be the treatment methods themselves which, in some fields, still rely on opioids medications.
Unfortunately, the increasing opioid medications and drugs consumptions are reflecting on the fact that the hospitalizations due to pediatric opioid overdose have doubled in the last 14 years.