Opioid abuse among young on rise

News

ILLINOIS — New reports show more children are hospitalized for opioid overdoses. With thousands of overdoses in the state, doctors warn parents to take more precautions when having these drugs in the house.

Doctors and researchers say more adults are being prescribed opioids than ever before. From chronic pain to healing after a surgery, opioids are one of the most popular drugs prescribed.

“The number of prescriptions have increased. Nearly 300 million prescriptions are written for opioids in the United States on an annual basis.”

Carlson says, with more adults taking these medicines, more children are prone to getting their hands on them.

“With children, I had no idea that that was an issue. I know it was with adults and I feel like it’s over-prescribed by doctors.”

Researchers from the Yale School of Medicine say the number of kids who were treated in hospitals from drug overdoses doubled between 1997 and 2012.

“We’re seeing more access and small children from accidental overdoses and we’re seeing more used by teenagers who are getting off these pills on purpose.”

Carlson says he and others are responsible for over-prescribing the drugs. The CDC warns them to take extra precautions before writing a prescription.

“We probably overshot the amount of times we wrote prescriptions for opioids, so the recent letters have really been to reflect on maybe we don’t need to use opioids as often as we have been.”

Researchers do warn the increase of overdoses in children is likely to remain the same unless more education is provided about the danger of the drugs.

“Maybe some more advertising about the fact that, you know, when you are on opioids, and your doctor has prescribed them, how to safely store them.”

The DEA finalized a decision this month to reduce prescription opioid quotas by 25%. Senator Dick Durbin (D) was one praising the measure.

By reducing prescription quotas, Durbin says it’s a big step in decreasing millions of opioids produced each year. Over the past 20-years, the DEA increased its inventory.

Durbin says it’s the largest decrease in opioid production quotas in two decades.

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