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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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Children Whose Parents Use Alcohol or Drugs Have Increased Risk of Medical Problems

Children Whose Parents Use Alcohol or Drugs Have Increased Risk of Medical Problems
Children whose parents use alcohol or drugs are at increased risk of medical and behavioral problems, according to a new report. The American Academy of Pediatrics, which published the report, urges pediatricians to assess children’s risk, and intervene when necessary, according to PsychCentral. “Alcohol misuse and substance use are exceedingly common in this country, and parents’ or caregivers’ substance use may affect their ability to consistently prioritize their children’s basic physical and emotional needs and provide a safe, nurturing environment,” said report co-author Vincent C. Smith, MD, MPH. About 20 percent of U.S. children grow up in a home in which someone misuses alcohol or has a substance use disorder, the report notes.
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Shortage of Child Psychiatrists Worsening, Experts Say

Shortage of Child Psychiatrists Worsening, Experts Say
The shortage of child psychiatrists, which has been a problem for many years, is becoming worse at a time when the United States is facing an increase in depression and suicides among young people, experts tell NBC News. Fewer child psychiatrists are taking insurance because of low reimbursement rates. Many are approaching retirement, while not enough medical students want to become child psychiatrists. “We’re not replenishing ourselves,” said Mark Olfson, who teaches and researches child psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center in New York. Currently there are about 8,500 child psychiatrists in the country, and an estimated 15 million children who need one, according to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry says. The group says there should be 47 child psychiatrists for every 100,000 children 17 or younger, or one for every 2,127 children. No states meet that standard. Wyoming has one child psychiatrist for every 22,960 children, while...
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Many Parents Keep Children’s Leftover Prescription Opioids at Home

Many Parents Keep Children’s Leftover Prescription Opioids at Home
Almost half of parents whose child had unused prescription opioid painkillers left over from a surgery or illness keep the medication at home, a new poll finds. Parents who have a discussion with their child’s doctor about how to properly dispose of the medication are much more likely to do so, the poll found. Researchers from the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan, polled nearly 1,200 parents with at least one child ages 5 to 17. They found about one-third of parents said their children had received pain medication prescriptions, mostly for opioids such as oxycodone or hydrocodone, HealthDay reports.Only 8 percent of parents said they returned the unused medication to a pharmacy or doctor, while 30 percent disposed of the drugs in the trash or toilet, and 6 percent said other family members used the medication. Nine percent said they didn’t remember where the medications went. Only one-third...
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Poison Control Centers Report Jump in Children’s E-Cigarette Exposures

Poison Control Centers Report Jump in Children’s E-Cigarette Exposures
Poison control centers around the country have seen a sharp increase in calls about young children’s exposure to e-cigarettes. The biggest threat appears to be ingestion of liquid nicotine, HealthDay reports. Young children exposed to e-cigarettes appear to suffer worse health effects than those exposed to regular cigarettes, the researchers report in the journal Pediatrics. The number of e-cigarette exposures in children younger than 6 years old increased 1,500 percent between 2012 and 2015. During that period, poison control centers in the United States received more than 29,000 calls related to e-cigarette, nicotine and tobacco product exposures among children under 6. E-cigarettes accounted for 14 percent of those calls, while traditional cigarettes accounted for about 60 percent of exposures, and other tobacco products accounted for 16 percent of calls. Children under age 2 accounted for almost all cigarette and other tobacco exposures, and 44 percent of e-cigarette exposures. In April 2015,...
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Too Many Young Children With ADHD Receiving Medicine as First Treatment: Report

Too Many Young Children With ADHD Receiving Medicine as First Treatment: Report
Too many children ages 2 to 5 who are diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are receiving medication as the first treatment, before behavioral therapy is tried, a new government report states. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says about 75 percent of young children with ADHD receive medicine as treatment, the Associated Press reports. Only about half of young children with ADHD in Medicaid and 40 percent with employer-sponsored insurance receive psychological services, including the recommended first-line treatment, behavior therapy. Behavior therapy improves ADHD symptoms without the side effects of medicine, the CDC notes. “ It is an important first step for young children with ADHD and most effective when delivered by parents,” the report notes. “With the support of healthcare providers and therapists, parents can learn specific ways to improve their child’s behavior and keep their relationships strong.” Behavior therapy involves a therapist teaching parents over...
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Children of Alcoholics Week 14-20 February 2016

Children of Alcoholics Week 14-20 February 2016
Next week (Feb 14th-20th) is Children of Alcohol Awareness Week where we take a little time to focus not on the addict, but those affected by the addiction. It has always been said that alcoholism is a family disease, meaning that is takes a hold of everyone connected to its devastation, children included. And so with that, we take this week to focus on those kids and what we can do to help them through this difficult journey. Did you know that one in four children live in a family effected by addiction? Think about how many kids or teens that is in your classroom if you are a teacher, on your team if you are a coach, or in a group you’re involved with if you are a parent. It is an astronomical number and one that is often never known because it is known to be a silent population,...
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Opioid Abuse Leading to More Children Sent Into Foster Care

Opioid Abuse Leading to More Children Sent Into Foster Care
More children are being sent into foster care as a result of the abuse of heroin and opioid painkillers, The Wall Street Journal reports. Officials say opioid abuse is straining child welfare agencies. The number of children in foster care in the United States rose 3.5 percent from 2013 to 2014, reaching 415,129 in September 2014. While national data do not measure how many children arrive in foster care because of their parents’ drug use, some state and local officials say opioid addiction is a likely factor in the increase. Experts tell the newspaper the overprescribing of opioid painkillers, along with a cheap and plentiful supply of heroin, has contributed to the crisis. A Vermont state survey found opioid use was a factor in 80 percent of cases in which a child under age 3 was taken into custody. Governor Peter Shumlin said the number of children under the custody...
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ADHD Diagnoses Increase, With Largest Leap in Girls and Hispanic Children

ADHD Diagnoses Increase, With Largest Leap in Girls and Hispanic Children
The number of U.S. children diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is on the rise, with the largest increase seen in girls and Hispanic children, according to a new study. The rate of ADHD among children ages 5 to 17 increased 43 percent from 2003 to 2011, HealthDay reports. In 2011, an estimated 12 percent of American children had ever been diagnosed with ADHD, researchers from George Washington University found. The study found ADHD is still almost twice as common among white children compared with Hispanic children (14 percent versus less than 8 percent). Between 2003 and 2011, ADHD diagnoses increased 83 percent among Hispanic children, compared with 46 percent among white children. While twice as many boys were diagnosed with ADHD compared with girls, the prevalence among girls rose 55 percent during the study period, from 4.3 percent in 2003 to 7.5 percent in 2011. The findings are published in...
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Study Links Taking ADHD Medication with Being Bullied at School

Study Links Taking ADHD Medication with Being Bullied at School
A new study finds children who take stimulants to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are more likely to be bullied at school than their peers who do not have attention disorders. Those who have ever shared their prescriptions are at highest risk of bullying, Time reports. Children who had shared their medication or had it taken from them in the previous year were four-and-a-half times more likely to be frequently bullied. The findings come from a survey of almost 5,000 children in five public schools. “We know that among adolescents in the U.S., prescription stimulants are some of the most misused and shared diverted and drugs,” said lead researcher Quyen Epstein-Ngo of the University of Michigan. “We also know that bullying is a real issue. There was some research that suggested that kids were having their medication stolen or were being coerced into giving it away.” The prevalence of children ages...
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