Study finds, 9,000 pediatric overdose deaths since 1999

U.S. children and adolescents are dying from opioid overdoses, according to a study published on JAMA Network.

Researchers conducted a cross-sectional analysis using CDC mortality data between 1999 and 2016.

Researchers found nearly 9,000 children and adolescents under the age of 20 died from opioid overdoses. During the 18 years, the mortality rate for this age group has more than doubled. Researchers wrote that what began more than two decades ago as a public health program among young and middle-aged white males had led into an epidemic of prescription and illicit opioid abuse. It is taking a toll on all segments of U.S. society, including the pediatric population.

Millions of children and adolescents are now exposed in their homes, schools and communities to these addictive drugs.

Of the 8,986 children and adolescents who died from opioid overdoses, about 73 percent were male and 88 percent were adolescents in between the ages 15 to 19. Prescribed opioids made up 73 percent of the deaths. Deaths due to heroin use killed about 24 percent of adolescents between the age of 15 to 19.

Opioid addiction engagement solutions can assist in treating opioid addiction.