The number of children admitted to the hospital for opioid overdoses almost doubled in a 10-year period, according to a study.
The study, found in the Pediatrics journal, examined the number of children between the ages of one and 17 who were taken to the hospital for opioid-related overdoses.
In their findings, overdoses reached 797 patients between 2004 and 2007, while the number between 2012 and 2015 shot up to 1,504 children suffering from overdoses.
“The thing that was a bit striking is that in the youngest children, those under six years of age, 20% of the ingestions were of methadone. So you sort of have to ask yourself: where are they getting all this methadone from?” lead author Dr. Jason Kane said.
Researchers also noted that some of the cases could be resulting after the children found their parents’ medication and took it without knowing.
“What was really striking to me is just how sick these kids are and that almost half of them end up in the ICU,” Kane said. “The reason why that’s important to recognize is that nationwide there’s only about 4,100 pediatric ICU beds, which is in contrast to the number of adult ICU beds, which is closer to 78,000.”
The opioid crisis so far has cost America about $1 trillion from 2001 t0 2017. Each time a person dies from an opioid overdose, they represent a loss of $800,000 to the economy.
The president has made countering the crisis a key part of his agenda, calling for a focus on education and recovery to combat it.
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