Visit Our Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource Section ⇒

X
Jump to:  A   |   B   |   C   |   D   |   E   |   F   |   G   |   H   |   I   |   J   |   K   |   L   |   M   |   N   |   O   |   P   |   Q   |   R   |   S   |   T   |   U   |   V   |   W   |   X   |   Y

More Kids, Teens Landing in ERs After Opioid Overdoses

More Kids, Teens Landing in ERs After Opioid Overdoses

MONDAY, Dec. 23, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- An alarming number of young people are showing up in America's emergency rooms after overdosing on opioid painkillers, a new study finds.

In a study of more than 200,000 cases of kids misusing and abusing opioid painkillers, researchers found that, although the number of such incidents has dropped since 2005, life-threatening cases have increased.

"Parents and pediatricians need to be alert to the risk of self-harm, misuse and abuse of opioids in children and adolescents," said senior researcher Dr. Jocelyn Grunwell. She's an assistant professor of pediatric critical care medicine at Emory University in Atlanta.

"Much of the research on the opioid crisis has focused on the impact to adults; however, children and adolescents in the U.S. are also negatively affected by the opioid epidemic," Grunwell added.

Despite efforts to control access to prescription opioids, the number of hospital admissions for opioid poisonings among children and teens, especially after an attempted suicide, is increasing, she said.

"Parents need to remove, or restrict access to, opioids," Grunwell advised, "and seek mental health services for children and teens at risk for self-harm and opioid abuse."

In the study, the researchers found that the number of children admitted to intensive care units rose from about 7% of more than 80,000 poisonings between 2005 and 2009, to nearly 10% of more than 48,400 poisonings between 2015 and 2018.

The increase in the number of kids winding up in intensive care units has been driven by possible suicide attempts among those aged 18 and younger, the study authors said. The most common overdoses involved methadone, fentanyl and heroin.

Using the National Poison Data System database for accidental or intentional opioid overdoses among babies and children under age 19, the researchers found that between 2005 and 2018, more than 207,000 cases were reported to 55 poison control centers.

Most child drug poisonings did not need an intensive care admission and caused either a minor reaction, such as drowsiness, or none at all.

But the number of kids who needed specialist treatment increased throughout the time of the study.

The researchers found a similar increase in psychiatric unit admissions. The percentage of these admissions more than doubled, from 4% of more than 80,000 cases between 2005 and 2009, to 8% of nearly 48,500 cases between 2015 and 2018.

Also, the number of children needing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) went from 1% of 5,200 cases to 3% of nearly 4,600 cases over the study period, the findings showed.

The report was published online Dec. 20 in the journal Clinical Toxicology.

Linda Richter is director of policy research and analysis at the Center on Addiction, in New York City. She said, "The authors are certainly justified in concluding that more attention needs to be paid to adolescent mental health to address the alarming increase in opioid-related suicide attempts, but clearly much more needs to be done to prevent the overwhelming proportion of poisonings that derives from unintentional or accidental exposures in the home among very young children."

The most common cause of the poisoning incidents across time has been unintentional, or accidental, exposures in the home, Richter said.

For parents, she suggests:

  • Limiting the number of opioids and other addictive substances in the home.

  • Properly storing and disposing of prescription medications and other addictive substances.

  • Keeping them out of sight and out of reach, storing them in their original, child-resistant packaging and disposing of any unused product as soon as possible.

  • Setting a good example for children when it comes to prescription drug use.

  • Knowing the symptoms of exposure and calling a poison control center if exposure is suspected.

  • Calling 911 if a child is unresponsive or having trouble breathing.

  • Providing health care professionals with honest, accurate and detailed information about the potential exposure incident.

"Telling the truth could save a child's life," Richter said.

More information

For more on painkiller overdoses, head to the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse for Teens.

SOURCES: Jocelyn Grunwell, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor, pediatric critical care medicine, Emory University, Atlanta; Linda Richter, Ph.D., director, policy research and analysis, Center on Addiction, New York City; Dec. 20, 2019, Clinical Toxicology, online

Reviewed Date: --

Find a pediatrician
Childrens Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
Dr. James Bennett
Dr. J. Marc Cardelia
Dr. Bettina Gyr
Dr. Peter Moskal
Dr. Cara Novick
Dr. Carl St. Remy
Dr. Allison Tenfelde
Sports Medicine
Dr. Joel Brenner
Dr. Aisha Joyce
Dr. Micah Lamb
Dr. David Smith
Health Tips
Cough Medicine Abuse by Teens
Helping a Friend with an Addiction
Helping Kids Get Over their Fears
How Old Is "Old Enough" for Contacts?
Is Your Teen Abusing Drugs or Alcohol?
Primer- GHB, a Club Drug
Primer: A Parent's Guide to Inhalant Abuse
Talk With Your Kids About These Issues
Teens and Prescription Drugs
Treating Minor Injuries in Children
Quizzes
Addiction Quiz
Substance-Use Disorder Quiz
Teen Health Quiz
Diseases & Conditions
Adolescent (13 to 18 Years)
Amenorrhea in Teens
Anatomy of a Child's Brain
Anatomy of the Endocrine System in Children
Anxiety Disorders in Children
Asthma in Children Index
Becker Muscular Dystrophy (BMD) in Children
Bites and Stings
Bone Marrow Transplant for Children
Brain Tumors in Children
Breast Conditions in Young Women
Chemotherapy for Children: Side Effects
Ewing Sarcoma in Children
Eye Safety and First Aid
Female Growth and Development
Firearms
First Aid for Poisonings in a Child
First Aid for the Eyes
Gynecological and Menstrual Conditions
Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) in Children
High Blood Pressure in Children and Teens
Home Page - Adolescent Medicine
Home Page - Burns
Inflammatory and Infectious Musculoskeletal Disorders
Inflammatory and Infectious Neurological Disorders
Inguinal Hernia in Children
Insect Bites and Children
Insect Stings in Children
Kidney Transplantation in Children
Major Depression in Teens
Meningitis in Children
Menstrual Cramps (Dysmenorrhea) in Teens
Menstrual Disorders
Minor Injuries Overview
Mood Disorders in Children and Adolescents
Myasthenia Gravis (MG) in Children
Oral Health
Osteosarcoma (Osteogenic Sarcoma) in Children
Overview of Adolescent Health Problems
Pap Test for Adolescents
Pediatric Blood Disorders
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in Children
Preparing the School-Aged Child for Surgery
Schizophrenia in Children
School-Aged Child Nutrition
Sports Safety for Children
Substance Exposure
Superficial Injuries of the Face and Head- Overview
Teens and Diabetes Mellitus
Television and Children
Thalassemia
The Growing Child- Teenager (13 to 18 Years)
The Growing Child: 2-Year-Olds
The Heart
The Kidneys
Tick Bite Diseases
Treatment for Human Bites
Your Child's Asthma
Your Child's Asthma: Flare-ups

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your child's physician. The content provided on this page is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your child's physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition.