Magazine article USA TODAY

Poisonings Nearly Doubled among Kids

Magazine article USA TODAY

Poisonings Nearly Doubled among Kids

Article excerpt

Thousands of children are hospitalized annually for prescription opioid poisonings and, in recent years, hospitalization rates have nearly doubled among children of all ages, according to a study at Yale University, New Haven, Conn., that shows toddlers and older teenagers are particularly at risk. These findings, based on a review of hospital discharge records over a 16year period, demonstrate the impact of the prescription opioid crisis on children and the need for strategies to address it, say the researchers.

Prescription opioids include common painkillers such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, and fentanyl. In adults, the growing use and abuse of these drugs are linked to a rise in hospitalizations for opioid poisonings. To gauge the impact of these trends on children, researchers conducted a comprehensive analysis of hospitalizations attributed to opioid poisonings in children and adolescents.

"Poisonings from prescription opioids in children and teens increased nearly twofold," points out first author Julie Gaither. 'Those most vulnerable to opioid exposure were children ages one to four and 15 to 19. …

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