All-drug overdoses rising in children aged 0 to 10, 11 to 14

Lifestyle

From April 2016 through September 2019, suspected all-drug overdoses increased among those aged 0 to 10 and 11 to 14 years, while there was a decrease seen in suspected heroin overdoses among youth aged 15 to 24 years, according to a study published online Dec. 7 in Pediatrics.

Douglas R. Roehler, Ph.D., from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues conducted a retrospective analysis of emergency department syndromic surveillance data to detect quarterly trends in suspected drug overdoses from April 2016 through September 2019. Trends in suspected nonfatal drug-related overdoses (all-drugs, opioids, heroin, and stimulants) were examined for youth aged 0 to 10, 11 to 14, and 15 to 24 years.

The researchers observed a 2.0 and 2.3 increase for youth aged 0 to 10 years and aged 11 to 14 years, respectively, for suspected all-drug overdoses, on average. For youth aged 15 to 24 years, suspected heroin overdoses decreased by an average of 3.3 per quarter. Suspected stimulant overdoses increased across the study period among all age groups: 3.3, 4.0, and 2.3 for those aged 0 to 10, 11 to 14, and 15 to 24 years, respectively.

“Our results suggest that targeted interventions, even with young children, such as multifaceted approaches, including school, family, and medical providers, may be warranted to prevent overdoses requiring medical treatment,” the authors write.