The rates of high strength pain killer related cases of poisoning among children that led to emergency admission in US hospitals have markedly gone up, says research. The proportion of Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) admissions rose by more than a third during the study period from 6.6 per cent between 2005 and 2009 to 9.6 percent between 2015 to 2018. Drug overdose deaths in the US have tripled in the past two decades. Those derived from the opium poppy plant (opioids) can be highly potent and account for two-thirds of fatal drug poisonings. The study found 207,543 cases were reported to 55 US poison control centers from 2005 to 2018.
The research suggests that the majority of child drug poisonings did not require intensive care admission, and either resulted in minor effects such as drowsiness or none at all. But the proportion of needing specialist treatment did increase over the study period.