Number of Children Hospitalized by Opioid Overdose Almost Doubles

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For the study, researchers at the University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children's Hospital looked through the Pediatric Health Information System (PHIS), which records the most serious overdose cases.

Opioid-related hospitalizations were highest among children ages 12-17 (61 percent) followed by children ages 1 to 5 (34.2 percent) and ages 6 to 11 (4.8 percent).

MONDAY, March 5, 2018 A growing number of US kids are ending up in the intensive care unit after overdosing on prescription painkillers or other opioids, a new study finds. Of those patients, 37% required mechanical ventilators to assist breathing, and 20.3% required medication to raise dangerously low blood pressure. About a fifth of those very young patients had ingested methadone, an opioid-based medication that researchers surmise was prescribed to the adults in their lives.

Rates of opioid overdose deaths increased significantly from 7 per 100,000 in 2013 to 9 per 100,000 in 2014.


While the opioid-related incidents were a relatively small percentage of the almost 4.2 million children's hospitalizations during the 11-year study, they reflected a 35 percent increase in pediatric intensive-care admissions for ingesting the drugs, according to the study. It can also be used as a prescription painkiller. The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control describes OUD as a problematic pattern of opioid use that causes significant impairment or distress.

In 2016, an estimate of 64,000 Americans died due to a drug overdose, where a majority of the cases from opioid overdose. Prescription painkillers were most commonly involved, but heroin, methadone and other opioid drugs also were used.

The findings, reported online March 5 in the journal Pediatrics, offer the latest look at the US opioid epidemic.

Sessions have directed the PIL Task Force to establish a working group to improve coordination and data sharing across the federal government to better identify violations of law and patterns of fraud related to the opioid epidemic; evaluate possible changes to the regulatory regime governing opioid distribution; and recommend changes to laws. "They are, at no fault of their own, being poisoned by drugs that are in their home, and they're in the home because of this national adult opioid crisis". She also cites a recent estimate that put the total societal cost of opioid overdoses at $504 billion per year-nearly 3% of the US gross domestic product.

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