New numbers reveal more than 100 KIDS per day being seen in U.S. hospitals with opioid addiction

Monday, October 16, 2017
By Paul Martin

by: Frances Bloomfield
Monday, October 16, 2017

A new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has cast a grim new light on America’s opioid crisis. The organization found that hospitals in the United States attend more than 100 children and teenagers a day who are already hooked on opioids, reported

The researchers based this estimate on their retrospective analysis of 2008 to 2013 data from the Nationwide Emergency Department Sample. By combing through the database, they discovered that the number of under-21 patients admitted into the emergency room and diagnosed with opioid dependency or addiction rose drastically during the five-year period.

From 32,235 patients in 2008, the figure rocketed to 49,626 in 2013. This means that the average of 85 children and teenagers a day in 2008 jumped to 135 a day five years later. Of those who entered the emergency room, 88.3 percent were aged 18 to 21, and 8.4 percent were aged 16 to 17. Moreover, 200 children and teenagers died in the emergency room, while 325 died during the course of hospitalization.

However, the researchers behind the report acknowledged that the numbers could actually be higher in reality since it’s highly unlikely that every addicted child was screened by doctors.

Dr. Veerajalandhar Allareddy, study co-author and medical director of the pediatric intensive care unit at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital, said that he and his team were “taken aback by the magnitude” of the problem, then added that their research is only “skimming the surface.”

He further stated that every child brought to the emergency room should be screened for addiction, and emphasized the need for parental intervention if parents suspect that their child may be playing around with drugs.

“If it at all is a concern, a discussion needs to happen. This was intended to be an exploratory study — one that we hope will help alert the public, researchers, and policymakers of the need to fully define and address this important, emerging public health problem among children in the U.S.,” said Allareddy.

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