Childhood Opiate Overdoses Doubles Over Last 10 Years

Childhood Opiate Overdoses Skyrocket in Just 10 Years

Amidst the opioid crisis, a new study has been conducted to see what the effects of opiates are on the youth in America. The journal Pediatrics published the study that looked at opiate overdoses in adolescents that revealed an alarm fact: from 2004 to 2015, the amount of overdoses on opiates among children almost doubled.

We will take a closer look at exactly what the study had to say about opiate overdoses in America’s youth.

Study’s Findings

The new study delved into the statistics surrounding opiate overdoses among children. To achieve this, they looked at 49 children’s hospitals across 27 states. In the 2004 to 2015 period, they found that out of the 3,647 adolescent opiate overdoses cases, 1,504 were in the last three years of the study as opposed to 797 in the first three years; an increase of almost 100 percent.

In the same time period, the study found that the number of opiate overdose death cases had dropped from 2.8 percent to just 1.3 percent. The need for pediatric care in the overdose cases also doubled in the study period. Of those that needed the extra care, 37 percent had to be put on mechanical ventilators and 20.3 percent had severely low blood pressures that required immediate medication to remedy. These were the result of the depressed effect that opiates has on the respiratory system and heart.

Furthermore, while the majority of cases were for adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17, an alarming one-third of the reported cases were for children under 6.  Children have curious natures and many of the overdoses, especially in very young children, were unattended opiate medications or illicit opiates that they then took accidently.

Reported cases of opiate overdose that involved methadone – a drug used in opiate replacement therapy and detox – accounted for around 20 percent of the cases under the age of 6. This coincides with the rise in methadone prescriptions, which increased by 559 percent in just 7 years from 2000.

The financial cost of opiate overdose between 2004 and 2015 rose significantly, and with the proposed changes to Medicaid, hospitals worry that they will struggle to recoup the costs. The estimated cost for treating overdose cases is roughly $504 billion every year.

Opiate Rehab Treatment

Whether you want to find help for yourself or your child for opiate abuse, treatment is the best way to deal with any form of dependence or addiction to opiates. Through opiate rehab treatment, a patient is able to have a medically assisted detox along with evidence-based therapy programs that can help a person quit opiates for good.

Detoxification can be an especially trying time because of the severe symptoms that people experience. These can be treated through the use of medications such as methadone and naltrexone. The patient can then be weaned off the drug at a safer, more manageable pace until they are ready for therapy.

Rehab provides their patients with options such as residential or outpatient programs. A residential program is the more intensive option because it requires that the addict stay on rehab grounds for the length of the treatment. Every day is planned full of activities that are geared toward their recovery.

Outpatient is ideal for people who are not dependent on opiates or for those who have already been through residential treatment. It allows for more freedom to attend to things like work or school while getting professional care.


If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

is a proud alumni member of WhiteSands Treatment. After living a life of chaos, destruction and constant let downs, Mark was able to make a complete turnaround that sparked a new way of life. He is serious about his recovery along with helping others. At WhiteSands Treatment, we offer support to you in your homes or when you are out living in your daily lives.