JAMA Reports a Massive 165 Percent Increase in Child Hospitilizations for Opioid Poisoning

Julie Gaither, a postdoctoral fellow at Yale School of Public Health and the study's lead author said, "Opioids are ubiquitous now. Enough opioids are prescribed every year to put a bottle of painkillers in every household. They're everywhere, and kids are getting into them."

Gaither says these findings demonstrate need to address issues such as over-prescribing and safe ways to store the drugs at home. Doctors need to talk to their patients about safe storage around young children.

The results of the study would also suggest that doctors need to take care in over-prescribing and consider who they prescribe the drug to. Roughly one in ten high school students have reported taking an opioid for a non-medical reason and almost 40 percent say they were prescribed the drug.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been advocating for doctors to prescribe a smaller number of pills to reduce the number of leftover pills and help reduce the risk of dependency.

Gaither says that children—and their risks—need to be part of the discussion. "We've got to pay attention to children and the toll the opioid crisis is taking on them. Kids make up about a fourth of the U.S. population, and they're suffering from this crisis, too."

Would you ever allow your child to be prescribed an opioid? Leave me a comment and let me know what you think?