A recent study in the journal Pediatrics looked at children between the ages of one and seventeen. These children were admitted to Hospitals or Pediatric ICU's with opioid-related diagnoses from 2004 to 2015.The study looked at two three year periods, 2004 to 2007 and 2012 and 2015. From 2004 to 2007, there were 797 children omitted to hospitals for an opioid overdose. That number doubled from 2012-2015 to a staggering 1,504. Hospitalizations were most common among kids aged 12 to 17 and children under the age of 6. The study also found that 20% of the ingestions were of Methadone. Methadone is prescribed for the treatment of opioid withdrawal symptoms, but it can also be used as a "pain killer".
East Tennessee Children's Hospital is also seeing a startling trend. "It feels they hardly get through a week without a child coming in for an opioid overdose", Dr. Joe Childs, the Chief Medical Officer. Dr. Childs also went on to say that they have used the lifesaving reversal drug Naloxone at least 50 times in the last 12 months. The Hospital is seeing and equal number of toddlers and teenagers. Most of them end up in the Intensive Care Unit.
"Treat your medications like you would treat a loaded gun," said Deborah Crouse with the Metro Drug Coalition.