Drug overdose deaths and accidental poisonings among children in the United States have been on the rise in recent years, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The report, which analyzed data from 2016 to 2019, found there was a 50% increase in overdose deaths among children ages 15 and under during that time period. Opioids were the most common drug involved in these incidents.
The rise in drug overdoses among children is a cause for concern, as it is a preventable cause of death.
The CDC recommends that parents and caregivers take steps to prevent accidental poisoning and drug overdoses among children. These steps include storing medications out of reach of children, properly disposing of unused medications, and seeking help if a child has accidentally ingested a drug.
The report also found that children of color, particularly black children, were disproportionately affected by these incidents.
In fact, black children were nearly twice as likely to die from an overdose as white children. Experts believe that this disparity is due to a variety of factors, including socioeconomic factors, access to healthcare, and racism in healthcare.
The COVID-19 pandemic also played a role in the rise of drug overdoses among children. The pandemic caused stress and anxiety for many people, which can increase the risk of substance use and overdose.
The pandemic has also disrupted access to treatment for substance use disorders, making it more difficult for people to get the help they need.
To address this growing problem, the CDC recommends that healthcare providers and policymakers take action to prevent opioid misuse and overdose.
This includes increasing access to medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder, implementing policies to reduce the supply of opioids, and expanding access to naloxone, a medication that can reverse opioid overdoses.
The report highlights the urgent need to address the opioid epidemic and prevent unnecessary deaths among children. In addition to the CDC’s recommendations, there are a number of other steps that can be taken to address this issue.
Children under 5 are increasingly victims of opioid epidemic, study finds#pediatrics #christophergaw #kaitbrown #fdahttps://t.co/FSNGEKFPXZ
— Upstract News (@upstractcom) March 8, 2023
One key step is to increase public awareness of the risks of opioid use and the importance of proper medication storage and disposal. This can be done through public health campaigns and education programs in schools and community centers.
Another important step is to increase access to addiction treatment and support services for those struggling with substance use disorders. This includes increasing funding for treatment programs and making it easier for people to access these services.
.@ChildrensPhila's Dr. Christopher Gaw shares findings from his recent @AmerAcadPeds study exploring factors associated with fatal poisonings among young children. https://t.co/cUL2SHdIdv pic.twitter.com/LqnSXp3ys3
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There is also a need to address the root causes of the opioid epidemic, such as the over-prescribing of opioids by healthcare providers and the lack of alternative pain management options.
Healthcare providers can play a key role in addressing these issues by following evidence-based guidelines for prescribing opioids and promoting alternative pain management strategies.
In addition, policymakers can address the opioid epidemic by implementing policies to reduce the supply of opioids and promote public health and safety.This includes prescription drug monitoring programs, drug take-back programs, and restrictions on opioid prescribing.
Overall, the rise in drug overdose deaths and accidental poisonings among children is a concerning trend that needs to be addressed.
By taking a comprehensive approach that includes prevention, treatment, and policy changes, we can work to prevent unnecessary deaths and protect the health and well-being of children across the country.This article appeared in The Political Globe and has been published here with permission.