A new study reveals that over 11,200 calls were made across the United States to its poison control centers regarding kids’ exposure to an opioid medication for treatment around an opioid-use disorder, buprenorphine, from 2007 to 2016. Eighty-nine of these cases were unintentional; while 86 percent dealt with kids six years old and under.
CNN advises that the Director of the Central Ohio Poison Center, and lead of the study, Henry Spiller, chimed in on the research numbers stating that this poses a huge risk to children as the drug is never prescribed for kids that are six and under.
Within the 11,275 kids exposed to this drug, and overall rate of per 1 million rose by just over 215 percent between 2007-2010 (from just over 6 percent to just over 20), which was then followed by a decline to just over 11 percent in 2013, and then another increase by just over eight percent to 12.6 percent in 2016.
Buprenorphine is a medication aimed to help adults with an opioid or narcotic addiction, which is ultimately, and for the most part unintentionally, poisoning children. The medication is a blocker and stimulant for opiate receptors. As such, it does not offer that same ‘high’, but is still an opiate.
While adolescents will not have the same risks as younger children do, the aftermath of being exposed to these such drugs can still be felt, as they too can become addicted to the drug if the stumble upon it. Interestingly enough, as per the study, this age group made up 11 percent of exposures, with 77 percent being intentional (and 12 percent alleged suicides), as well as over 25 percent used at minimum of one other substances along with the buprenorphine. While over 60 percent of the misuse/buprenorphine abuse took place by male youth in this demographic, the females marked close to 60 percent of the suspected suicides.
As per the study authors, with approximately 2.1 million Americans with an opioid addiction, and just over 11 million misusing their opioid prescriptions, the rates around children being exposed to this medication will continue to increase.
Close to one-quarter of those kids aged six and under who were exposed to these drugs ended up in a hospital’s intensive care.