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Opioids Are Leading Cause of Child Poisoning Deaths, Study Finds

Opioids are a significant cause of child poisoning deaths, according to a study published in the journal Pediatrics. The study found that between 2000 and 2018, there were more than 10,000 deaths among children aged 0-19 from opioid poisoning. Of these deaths, 7,000 were unintentional.

By Adam MR24Published 7 months ago • 3 min read
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Opioids are a significant cause of child poisoning deaths, according to a study published in the journal Pediatrics. The study found that between 2000 and 2018, there were more than 10,000 deaths among children aged 0-19 from opioid poisoning. Of these deaths, 7,000 were unintentional.

The study also found that the rate of opioid poisoning deaths among children increased significantly over the study period. In 2000, there were 0.22 deaths per 100,000 children, while in 2018, there were 0.48 deaths per 100,000 children.

The majority of the deaths occurred in children aged 15-19, and the rate of death was highest among boys. The study also found that the most common opioid involved in these deaths was methadone, followed by oxycodone and hydrocodone.

The study highlights the importance of ensuring that opioids are stored securely and out of reach of children, as well as educating parents and caregivers on the risks associated with these drugs. It also underscores the need for increased access to addiction treatment and resources for families impacted by opioid use disorder.

The study also found that the highest rates of opioid poisoning deaths among children were in states with the highest rates of opioid prescribing. This suggests that efforts to reduce opioid prescribing and increase the use of alternative pain management strategies may have a positive impact on reducing child opioid poisoning deaths.

In addition, the study highlights the importance of proper disposal of unused opioids. It is recommended that opioids be safely disposed of as soon as they are no longer needed, rather than being kept in the home where they can be accessed by children.

Overall, the study emphasizes the need for a multifaceted approach to addressing the opioid epidemic, including prevention efforts to reduce the number of opioids available and increase education and awareness about their risks, as well as improved access to addiction treatment and resources for families affected by opioid use disorder.

The study also identified several demographic factors that were associated with an increased risk of opioid poisoning deaths among children. Children from lower-income families and those living in rural areas were more likely to die from opioid poisoning, as were those with Medicaid insurance.

This highlights the need for targeted efforts to address the opioid epidemic in vulnerable populations, including increased access to addiction treatment and resources for families who may be struggling with opioid use disorder. It also underscores the need for policies that ensure equitable access to healthcare and addiction treatment for all children, regardless of their income or geographic location.

Finally, the study suggests that there is a need for ongoing monitoring and research to better understand the impact of the opioid epidemic on children and to identify effective interventions to prevent opioid poisoning deaths among this vulnerable population. This includes continued efforts to improve data collection and reporting on opioid poisoning deaths, as well as research on the effectiveness of prevention and treatment strategies.

In addition to the risk of unintentional poisoning, children of parents with opioid use disorder may also be at risk of other adverse outcomes, such as neglect, abuse, and exposure to other substances. Children whose parents are struggling with addiction may also experience instability in their home environment and disruptions to their education and social support systems.

Therefore, addressing the opioid epidemic and supporting families affected by addiction is not only critical for reducing the risk of opioid poisoning deaths among children, but also for promoting the overall health and well-being of children and families.

Some of the key strategies for addressing the opioid epidemic and supporting families affected by addiction include increasing access to evidence-based addiction treatment and recovery support services, implementing policies to reduce the availability of opioids and promote alternative pain management strategies, and promoting education and awareness campaigns to reduce stigma and improve understanding of addiction as a treatable health condition.

In conclusion, the study underscores the urgent need for action to address the opioid epidemic and reduce the risk of opioid poisoning deaths among children. By taking a comprehensive, evidence-based approach, we can help to protect the health and well-being of children and families affected by this devastating crisis.

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Adam MR24

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