An Alarming Number of Kids Are Getting Their Hands on Opioids

Ebony Scott
March 21, 2017

The number of children exposed to prescription opioids has fallen since 2009, but levels are still up from 2000, and that has doctors concerned.

Considerably fewer teens reported less illicit drug use - other than marijuana - in the past 12 months than at any time since 1991, according to the report.

Researchers say there needs to be a change in how opioids are prescribed and packaged. Even still, Casavant said that even when parents removed a buprenorphine-containing medication from a child's mouth quickly, they would still have to call poison control because the child would be exhibiting symptoms of opiate overdose.

Researchers examined results from the Monitoring the Future study, a cross-sectional, nationally representative sample of USA high school seniors attending approximately 135 public and private schools from 1976-2015 and found one-fourth of high school seniors self-reported medical or non-medical use of prescription opioids and most adolescents who report non-medical use of opioids have a history of medical use of prescription opioids.

"Health professionals who prescribe opioid medications to adolescents can play an important role in reducing prescription opioid misuse", Sean McCabe, study author and research professor at the University of MI, told Live Science.

And adults need to keep track not only of their own medications, but those given to their children.

Over the 16-year study period, there was a 50 percent increase in the rate of prescription opioid-related suspected suicides among teenagers, particularly with girls.

A new study from the Children's Nationwide Hospital in OH shows how the nation's drug epidemic is impacting children.

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Although buprenorphine, the main ingredient in opioid replacement medications such as Suboxone and Subutex, has helped countless addicts wean themselves off more deadly opioids, a new study has found that the medication is increasingly finding itself in the hands of children - with risky results. Instead, buprenorphine exposures increased from 2014 to 2015 after declining from 2011 to 2013.

The U.S. consumes about 80 percent of the world's prescription opioid supply.

That averages out to more than 30 calls a day. Overall, 175 kids died - 55 percent of whom were teenagers.

Also, the study looked at why the exposure occurred and the severity of the exposure by age. Additionally, the study found pediatric exposure to hydrocodone led to the most calls (29 percent), followed by oxycodone (18 percent) and codeine (17 percent).

Results from the annual Monitoring the Future study found that teenagers' use of drugs, alcohol and tobacco in the USA has declined significantly and rates are at their lowest since the 1990s. And then, the prescription should be for a small quantity of pills, at the lowest dose possible.

Casavant advises that poisonous materials be kept out of sight and out of reach. And any leftover pills should be promptly discarded, he added.

According to the United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, the nationwide sales of prescription opioids have quadrupled ever since the year 1999.

Other reports by GizPress

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