Drug abuse is one of the biggest problems American youths grapple with today. Opioids are consumed at a particularly alarming rate. Statistics show that as many as 38 percent of Americans take opioids, and a chunk of them die due to abuse.
According to the journal Pediatrics, up to 12,000 children and teenagers get poisoned by opioids overdose every year. The journal notes that while some of such cases occur intentionally, many of them are accidental cases.
It may look like a minor problem, but opioid overdose actually kills hundreds of thousands of American children every year. To get more insight on the situation, researchers at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital, led by Dr. Gary Smith, looked at data from the poison control center of the hospital. Their objective was to find out the number of children and teenagers who consumed prescription medications but did not face any immediate danger to be rushed to a doctor.
The results show that within a 15-year period, more than 30 calls were made every day to report cases of children under 20 poisoned by one prescription medication or another. Up to 188,468 opioid abuse cases were recorded with most of them occurring at home.
The results also had some stunning revelations with regard to high school seniors. It showed that one in four of them had been exposed to opioids either medically or otherwise. While this is a problem of its own, the bigger worry here is the fact that these children can abuse other substances white trying to handle the opioids problem. Buprenorphine for example is used to help treat opioid addiction. Medical experts fear teenagers could abuse it while trying to deal with their opioid addiction.
One interesting factor researchers note about young people who abuse prescription drugs, is that most of them were initially prescribed the drug medically and legally. Somehow, they started taking it more than they should, and then with the influence of their society, they became dependent on them. Researchers note that teenagers will most likely abuse opioids intentionally.
Experts recommend that parents be more vigilant with their children and the medications they are prescribed. They note that most teenagers who abuse opioids, get them from their friends, so they caution that parents be particularly watchful.