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Opioid poisonings among children and adolescents fueling hospital admissions

The opioid epidemic in the United States has heavily impacted hospitalization rates of children and adolescents. A study published in JAMA Pediatrics highlighted that pediatric hospitalizations doubled during 1997-2012 as a result of increased opioid poisonings.

Opioids are classified as medicinal agents, which comprise of illicit drugs such as heroin and other prescription pain alleviating agents like oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, fentanyl, morphine and others. Opioids react with opioid receptors in the brain and produce a feeling of well-being and also provides a relief from pain.

In 2015, almost 2 million American adolescents had a substance abuse problem related to prescription pain relievers, as highlighted by the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM). Most of the adolescents get pain relievers from their friends or relatives and since adolescence is an impressionable age, they easily get carried away and hence become addicted.

The study authors from the Yale School of Medicine, Connecticut analyzed the national hospital discharge records of 13,052 pediatric hospitalization cases. The discharge records selected included patients between the age group of 1 and 19 who were admitted for opioid poisoning.

The researchers observed that:

  • Between the years 1997 to 2012, the total number of hospitalizations reported due to prescription opioid poisoning were 13,052.
  • The annual hospitalization incidence for opioid poisoning per 100,000 children between 1 and 19 years of age increased by 165 percent.
  • In the age group of 1 to 4, an increase of 205 percent was reported.
  • Between 15 to 19 years of age, an increase of 176 percent was reported. In this subset, heroin poisoning increased by 161 percent whereas methadone poisoning increased by 950 percent.

The authors concluded that seeing such an increase in the rate of hospitalization, it would be necessary to modify existing policies, formulate new ones and strictly execute consumer product regulations.

Effects of opioid poisoning

Opioids can cause a severe impairment in judgment and can predispose an individual to unintentional injury. Adolescents addicted to opioids might get involved in high-risk behaviors such as alcoholism, unsafe sexual practices, absence from school, burglary and even prostitution to pay for their addiction. In light of this, it is imperative to assume responsibility for one’s action and start the path to sobriety.

Addiction is beyond simple chemical dependency on a drug. Sovereign Health understands that it is a disease. We offer extensive treatment programs for adolescent patients needing a safe space to recover and rehabilitate from substance use disorders. After a teen is completely and safely detoxified, our treatment for the addiction can begin depending on the severity of the substance use disorder. Our Rancho San Diego facility, providing varying levels of care, from residential treatment to intensive outpatient programs, is a dedicated facility working towards helping the teens.

Road to recovery

According to the ASAM’s 2016 fact sheet, almost 276,000 adolescents were users of pain relievers for nonmedical purposes and 122,000 adolescents out of these had an addiction to prescription pain relievers. In addition, 21,000 adolescents had used heroin in the last one year and almost 5,000 were current heroin users. In addition, almost 6,000 adolescents suffered from heroin use disorder (HUD) in 2014.

If you or your loved one is affected by any addiction, do not hesitate in seeking treatment. Help from a qualified healthcare provider, a proper diagnosis, and right treatment can lead the patient onto the path of recovery. Contact Sovereign Health via online chat or call our 24/7 helpline number 855-683-9756 to know more about our drug addiction treatment centers. Our skilled experts will help you find the best addiction treatment centers near you.