Parental opioid use adversely affects children, says study

Parental opioid use adversely affects children, says study

Lately, prescription drug abuse has become a major public health crisis in the United States. Recently, there has been an increasing trend of opioid addiction in children and adolescents, with nearly half a million adolescents aged between 12 and 17 years reportedly using prescription pain relievers, according to a 2016 report by the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM). Thus, there is an increasing need for abuse and addiction treatment facilities exclusively focusing on addiction in young adults.

A recent study published in the journal Pediatrics suggested that a child could succumb to even a single dose of opioid drugs. According to David Juurlink, a senior scientist at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, having opioids at home significantly increases the risk of children overdosing on them. “These are very dangerous drugs at the high end of the dose range,” he said.

As many as nine children under two years of age, who had accidently ingested the pill, were treated for opioid toxicity, observed the study that used 2002-2015 health records of infants treated for an overdose.Whether carelessness on the part of the parent resulted in the unhappy situation is still debatable, as it is unlikely for children to reach up to the medicine cabinet on their own.

Codeine, oxycodone and methadone are the root cause of opioid poisoning

As part of the study, the researchers evaluated 103 children who had been admitted to the hospital for opioid poisoning, along with 412 controls. In most of the instances, the mother had been prescribed opioids such as codeine, oxycodone and methadone.

Thus, it is important for doctors to be extra vigilant while prescribing medications. Even parents to ensure that all safety measures are being followed while taking prescription drugs, especially if they have small children at home.

Some safe practices that could prevent an accidental ingestion are:

  • Keeping medications in a cabinet
  • Ensuring that the medicine cabinet is well beyond the reach of the children
  • Keeping the cabinet locked
  • Ensuring a proper disposal of opioids
  • Throwing away unused opioids

According to a 2016 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately half of all opioid overdose deaths in the United States involves a prescription opioid. Apparently, the country has been witnessing the worst phase of opioid abuse that has reached alarming proportions with youngsters being the most severely affected. While opioid poisoning in infants is attributed to negligence on the part of the caregivers, teens are more likely to use prescription drugs procured from the medicine box at home.

Drug misuse increases in children whose parents are addicted to opioids

Also called as oxy, percs, happy pills and hillbilly heroin, prescription medications are available in both natural or synthetic form. Prescription drugs function in a manner similar to endorphins, the hormones released by the body to counter pain and produce a sense of relaxation. Teenagers are more likely to misuse prescription pill, but the risk for their misuse increases in children whose parents are addicted to any opioid pill.

The newborn baby of a mother addicted to opioids will, in all likelihood, show symptoms of withdrawal. Neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) is most likely to happen in 24 to 92 percent of case of prenatal exposure. In neonates or children less than four weeks old, the manifestation of an opioid withdrawal will present the following signs:

  • Seizures
  • Sneezing
  • Poor feeding
  • Vomiting
  • Loose and watery stools
  • Dehydration

Road to recovery

By accessing a carefully planned and monitored medical detox, one can effectively take care of the problems associated with prescription drug abuse. If you or a loved one is grappling with addiction and planning to undergo detox, contact the California Detox Helpline to know more about the best detox and rehab centers in California. Call us at our 24/7 helpline number 855-780-2495 or chat online to find the most reliable drug rehab centers in California.