According to the findings of a new study, fewer children in the United States are overdosing on prescription painkillers every year. However the incidences are still a major cause of concern, the researchers say.
The researchers during the study found out that since 2009, the US poison control centres across the country have faced fewer calls about children and teenagers who accidentally overuse the drug or consume it to harm themselves.
The researchers have said that the findings of the study that the number of declining opioid abuse cases in children is a good news. However, they add that the problem is not going away
Commenting on the findings, the lead researcher on the study and chief toxicologist at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio Dr. Marcel Casavant said, “We really have a major problem in this country [with opioid abuse]. And it’s trickling down to our kids.”
Casavant said that the study has also found some alarming data which indicates that the rate of suspected suicide by opioid overdose is rising in teenagers. He said that the data also suggests that a growing number of teens in the US may be suicidal and have easy access to opioid doses which can threaten their lives.
The researchers found out that the drugs oxycodone (OxyContin) and oxycodone plus acetaminophen (Percocet) were the ones which were included in many of the opioid abuse cases where children overdosed. The doctors in the US began prescribing the medications more often from 1990s over concerns that patients who were in severe pain were not being helped properly.
According to the United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, the nationwide sales of prescription opioids have quadrupled ever since the year 1999.
The findings of the study were published n the journal Pediatrics on March 20.