A recent study has revealed that children are also victims of the opioid epidemic. This study shows that opioid-related hospitalizations of children have increased dramatically in recent years, with pediatric ICU admissions for opioid overdoses doubling between 2004 and 2015.
We have heard for many years now about doctors who overprescribe opioids for adults, usually for the treatment of pain. When children ingest these drugs, they often develop dangerously low blood pressure and have trouble breathing. Many of these children have found their way to methadone, a drug that is used to treat adults who are addicted to painkillers. Sometimes these second victims can suffer fatal injuries.
Sixty percent of pediatric opioid overdoses affected children between the ages of 12 and 17. It is not known whether the overdoses were intentional or accidental. Thirty percent of the opioid overdoses were among children aged one to five years. These occurred because medications were left accessible to children who found and ingested them.
If the concept of a pediatric overdose does not seem bad enough, there are a very limited number of pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) beds available nationwide. That means that whenever a child is hospitalized because of an opioid overdose, that child may be taking the place of another child who truly needs it because of an unpreventable medical condition.
If you believe that you or a loved one has suffered due to being overprescribed opioids, call the New Jersey opioid lawyers at Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP at 732-777-0100, or contact us online for a free consultation. We bring compassion and vast experience to each injured victim we help. Our offices are centrally located in Edison, Red Bank, and Toms River, New Jersey, and we proudly serve clients throughout the state.