A new study by the American Academy of Pediatrics shows a significant rise in the number of children visiting the emergency room who are diagnosed with a dependency on opioids. The study defined opioid dependence as dependence on either a prescription opioid or an illegal opioid, such as heroin. The numbers rose from 32,235 in 2008 to 49,626 in 2013.
“It was very concerning to see that by the last year we studied, an average of 135 children each day were testing positive for opioid addiction or dependency in emergency departments,” said Veerajalandhar Allareddy, MD, MBA, one of the authors and medical director of the pediatric intensive care unit at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. “In our opinion, this is a pediatric public health crisis.”
In an effort to educate parents about the dangers of opioid drug abuse, McMillen Health has developed a free parent handout, available for download on their website. McMillen Health’s CEO, Dr. Holli Seabury states, “I recently sat in on a session at a national conference where a pediatrician mentioned he had no information to give parents about the dangers of opioid abuse. I thought…we can develop that!” The handout was developed with input from the Allen County Department of Health, Indiana State Department of Health, law enforcement, and physicians. It can be accessed on McMillen Health’s website at http://mcmillenhealth.org/special-projects/.
McMillen Health provides direct education to youth in schools about the dangers of opioid and prescription medication abuse. “While we do educate youth, this handout will give parents some of the information they need to understand what opioids are and why their children are at risk. The adult cost of the opioid epidemic has been well-publicized recently, but youth are also becoming addicted. If parents are aware, they can open a discussion with their child,” says Seabury.
For more information visit: www.mcmillenhealth.org or call 260.456.4511.
McMillen Health’s mission is to provide vital, effective preventive health education that promotes physical, emotional, and social well-being. McMillen Health fulfills its mission by providing fact based preventive health education and by promoting responsibility in health choices and decision making. Annually, more than 50,000 students nationwide benefit from this vital education.