Skyrocketing number of opioid-addicted children admitted to ERs

Skyrocketing number of opioid-addicted children admitted to ERs
Posted at 1:43 PM, Sep 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-18 13:43:00-04

(RNN) – America’s opioid crisis has no age limits.

More than 100 children test positive for opioid addiction or dependency every single day in U.S. emergency rooms,  according to a study presented Monday to the American Academy of Pediatrics annual conference in Chicago.

The number of emergency department visits by patients 21 and younger rose from 32,235 in 2008 to 46,626 in 2013.

An average of 135 children per day were testing positive for addiction or dependency on prescription painkillers, as well as drugs such as heroin, said Dr. Veerjalandar Allareddy, one of the authors of the abstract and director of a pediatric intensive unit in Iowa.

“In our opinion, this is a pediatric public health crisis,” he said.

The study was based on analysis of 2008-2013 data from the Nationwide Emergency Department sample, the largest all-payer ED database in the U.S. Almost one-third of the children were admitted as inpatients regardless of cause to the same hospital as the emergency department visit.

Children from high-income households were more likely to be hospitalized rather than routinely discharged, while uninsured patients were less likely to be hospitalized, the study showed.

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