Child Hospital Admissions Due To Opioid Toxicity Increasing
The examined young persons from age 1-18 who were admitted to hospitals for reasons related to opioids. Children from age 12 to 17 accounted for nearly two-thirds (60%) of youths admitted for opioid poisoning. The study, however, did not examine whether the opioids were consumed intentionally or accidentally.
Children from age 1 to 5 were the second most likely and accounted for about one-third (30%) of hospital admissions. Researchers noted that these cases probably involved children finding and ingesting their parent’s opioids.
Still, although the admission rate rose, the number of children who died of an overdose decreased from 2.8 percent to 1.3 percent from 2004-2007. The researchers believe this is because physicians are becoming better able to treat patients with opioid poisoning.
Study authors advise that prevention is the best way to avoid child illness and death from opioids and offered the following advice.
The researchers stress that parents who keep opioids in their house should place them in a secure location, locked away so that children and others don’t have access to them. Unused medication should be taken back to a pharmacy or drop-off box for disposal.
Control The Supply
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is has been battling the opioid crisis by issuing suggested guidelines for opioid prescribing, such as limiting prescriptions to 7 days and prescribing the lowest effective dose. These actions appear to be reducing the overall supply of painkillers that may be privy to accidental ingestion or drug diversion.
Scientists are currently studying potential new safe, non-additive alternatives to pain management, based on non-opioid substances such as snail and spider venom, as well as capsaicin, a component in chili peppers that has shown to be an effective topical pain reliever.
~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology