Number of Children and Teens Hospitalized for Opioid Overdoses Almost Tripled

Number of Children and Teens Hospitalized for Opioid Overdoses Almost Tripled

A new study finds the number of young children and teens hospitalized for opioid painkiller overdoses has almost tripled in recent years.

Opioid overdoses increased 205 percent from 1997 to 2012 among children ages 1 to 4, HealthDay reports.

Among teens ages 15 to 19, overdoses increased 176 percent.

Most poisonings due to opioid painkillers among children under 10 were accidental. Lead researcher Julie Gaither of the Yale School of Medicine says young children are “eating them like candy.” Most overdoses among teens were accidental, although some were suicide attempts, Dr. Gaither noted.

The study appears in JAMA Pediatrics.

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