Child opioid poisonings double

The number of opiod poisonings has doubled.

BOISE - A new study by the Journal of the American Medical Association found the number of children being hospitalized for opioid poisoning more than doubled from 1997 to 2012.

The study shows the number of kids aged 1 to 19 hospitalized for this increased 165 percent.

"In Idaho, we know that prescription drug abuse in general is an issue that our youth are facing,” said Elisha Figueroa, an administrator with the Idaho Office of Drug Policy.

She added in recent years her office is seeing the trend change. She said in 2011, 20 percent of high school students in the state had reported using a prescription drug without a prescription from their physician. She said by 2015, that number went down to 16.8 percent.

Even with that, Figueroa said this is still an issue that needs to continue to be addressed because of the dangers that come with these medications and the how easily accessible they are.

"All of us have some prescription medication in our medicine cabinet at home. We've all had a shoulder surgery or a root canal or something like that and have left over medications,” she said. “It's very easy for them to access."

Dr. Matthew Judd from Saint Alphonsus said the age range of children he most sees is 15 to 19; an age he said has potential to have incredibly dangerous long-term impacts.

"Often they have long-term psychiatric disease, long-term addiction (that’s) harder to kick. There are a number of things that can just happen medically,” Dr, Judd said. “They're more predisposed to infections if they start using needles.”

Copyright 2016 KTVB


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