Monday, March 20, 2017

Study: 59.7% of poison center calls about childhood exposure to opioids concern those 5 and under

More than half of all calls to poison centers from 2000-15 concerning childhood exposure to opioids involved children five and under, says a study published in Pediatrics. From 2000-15 poison control centers in the U.S. received 188,468 calls about people under 20 being exposed to opioids. Exposures, 95.8 percent of which occurred at home, were highest among children under five, with 59.7 percent of all calls concerning that age. Second was teenagers, at 29.9 percent. Nearly one-third of all exposures, 28.7 percent, were from hydrocodone, 18 percent from oxycodone and 17 percent from codeine.

Researchers said most exposures to children five and under were because they found their parents' prescription opioids at home and gave in to curiosity, Jia Naqvi reports for The Washington Post. Researchers said teenagers were more likely to deliberately take the drugs.

The study found that "pediatric exposure to opioids increased by 86 percent from 2000 to 2009 but decreased overall for all ages under 20 from 2009 until 2015," Naqvi writes. Study author Marcel Casavan, medical director of the Central Ohio Poison Center and chief toxicologist at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, told Naqvi, “When adults bring these medications into their homes, they can become a danger to the children that live there. It is important that these medications are stored up, away and out of sight of kids of all ages, in a locked cabinet is best." (Exposure to opioids)

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