Children Dying of Opioid Overdoses


Parents who use drugs and/or alcohol in unhealthy ways are at risk of seriously impacting their children. Setting aside the fact that addiction often runs in the family (that is, there is a heredity factor to consider), exposure to unhealthy behaviors can lead children to adopting such behaviors themselves. Young people are extremely impressionable; if they see something, then they are more likely to want to try it, too. It is a tendency that can be extremely dangerous and even fatal.

There are some other issues to keep in mind when active addiction occurs in the household. People who are under the influence of mind altering substances are not always fully aware of what is happening around them, i.e. what their kids are getting into. Teenagers who sneak a drink of alcohol, here or there, may not be cause for concern; but, when it comes to drugs like prescription opioids, the stakes are exponentially higher.

The American opioid epidemic has been deadly to say the least. And, while the death toll associated with opioid use is usually referenced with regard to adult overdose deaths, it is important to point out that the adolescent death toll in recent years has sharply increased. Children across the country have been dying from accidental poisonings, overdoses and overdose suicides. What’s more, they are getting their hands on prescription opioids primarily at home.

Opioids In The House

A new study, conducted by researchers from the Yale School of Medicine, showed that the number of children who received emergency care for a drug overdose more than doubled between 1997 and 2012, NBC News reports. The research team found that the incidence of hospitalizations every year for opioid poisonings per 100,000 children aged 1 to 19 years, increased from 1.40 to 3.71 (165 percent). The findings were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association’s JAMA Pediatrics.

The study found that older adolescents were hospitalized the most, but the largest increase in opioid hospitalization rates were among toddlers and preschoolers, according to the article. The researchers write:

“During the course of 16 years, hospitalizations attributed to opioid poisonings rose nearly 2-fold in the pediatric population. Hospitalizations increased across all age groups, yet young children and older adolescents were most vulnerable to the risks of opioid exposure. Mitigating these risks will require comprehensive strategies that target opioid storage, packaging, and misuse.” 

Protecting Children

Whether you are taking prescription opioids for pain, as prescribed, or are abusing them, it is vital that your prescription narcotics can’t be accessed by your children—regardless of age. As is evident by the death rates, opioids can easily lead to an overdose. If you have an opioid use disorder, recovery may not only save your life, but the life of a child as well. Together we can, and do recover from the disease of addiction.

At Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat, we offer a full continuum of care including: Acute Medical Detoxification, Rehabilitation, Residential, Partial Hospitalization, a Family Program and Recovery Residences.

Please contact Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat 866.273.0868 to begin the journey of recovery.

Hemet Valley Recovery Center remains open and accepting patients, we will continue to follow the CDC guidelines regarding COVID-19. Click here for more information or call 866-273-0868.