More kids overdosing on anti-addiction medication, study finds

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Between 2007 and 2016, Americans made roughly 11,000 emergency calls to U.S. poison control centers after a child or teen was exposed to buprenorphine, a prescribed medication used to help wean patients off opioids, according to a study published June 25 in Pediatrics.

For the study, a team of researchers from Ohio analyzed 2007-16 poison centers call data from the National Poison Data System.

Here are three main study findings:

1. A majority (86 percent) of the calls involved children under age six, and most were linked to accidental buprenorphine exposure. Eleven of these children died.

2. Of the calls involving kids ages 13 to 19, 75 percent stemmed from intentional buprenorphine use.

3. Between 2005 and 2010, the number of patients annually prescribed buprenorphine increased from 100,000 to 800,000.

Study author Gary Smith, MD, a professor at Columbus-based Ohio State University and director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital, also in Columbus, believes this is a larger problem than the current numbers suggest since "not all pediatric buprenorphine exposures are reported to poison control centers," according to CBS News.

More articles on opioids: 

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