This Lifesaving Opioid Addiction Treatment Is Putting Kids At Risk

Most Teens Who Abuse Opioids 1st Got Them from a Doctor

While that rate is steady since 2000, experts warn they are now seeing a worrying spike in toddlers taking buprenorphine, a medical substitute for heroin. She goes on to say, "They shouldn't be exposed to the fumes, the actual drugs that are in the home, and so when it comes to children and opioids you're walking a thin line especially if you're making them illegally".

Research conducted by the Center For Injury and Policy and the Central Ohio Poison Center at Nationwide Children's Hospital show that, from January 2000 to December 2015, poison control centers in the United States received reports of 188,468 prescription opioid exposures among children under the age of 20. And while pediatric exposure to most prescription painkillers has declined, exposure to buprenorphine continues to climb. This averages 32 calls daily or one every 45 minutes. When black students did use opioids non-medically, it was usually for pain relief.

Anti-drug campaigns are largely deemed a failed enterprise which has led researchers to believe that phones are now giving teenagers so much stimulation they are less likely to seek out drugs and alcohol. The authors noted the disparity was likely linked to a more general lack of access to health treatment among black teens, or a specific under-prescription of appropriate pain management to that group. "Buprenorphine, in particular, had a significant increase in exposures to young children", says Dr. Marcel Casavant from Nationwide Children's Hospital.

'You have to be trained to prescribe this because it's explicitly prescribed for opioid addiction. "And children get respiratory depression where they decrease breathing or even stop breathing". But the results can be fatal - 175 children died during the period from which the study drew its data. Among children five or younger exposure occurred at home.

Addiction to opioids such as codeine, fentanyl, and oxycodone has emerged as a serious health problem in America. Hospitalizations for opioid poisoning are up 176 percent among people ages 15 to 19 years old.

A study in the journal "Pediatrics" found the main groups at risk for exposure are curious youngsters under 5 and teenagers, looking to either get high or harm themselves.

However, the new study revealed that among teens, both medical and nonmedical use of opioid medications has declined in recent years, starting in 2013. "Teens also had greater odds of being admitted to a healthcare facility and experiencing serious outcomes than younger children".

The researchers say that parents need to be aware of these trends among teens, given that 70 percent of teenagers that use prescription medication without a prescription get them from friends or family.

"They are the next generation they're the ones that are growing up with parents who are using opioids and they think it's perfectly fine but it's such a risky drug whether it's made legally or illegally", Alcohol Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services of Montgomery County spokesperson Ann Stevens said.

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