This Lifesaving Opioid Addiction Treatment Is Putting Kids At Risk

More kids are ingesting buprenorphine, a medication usually used by addicts trying to get clean

REUTERS By Ethan Harfenist Mar 20, 2017 at 4:29 PM ET
Although buprenorphine, the main ingredient in opioid replacement medications such as Suboxone and Subutex, has helped countless addicts wean themselves off more deadly opioids, a new study has found that the medication is increasingly finding itself in the hands of children — with dangerous results.

In a new study set to publish online in the journal Pediatrics, researchers analyzed more than 188,000 calls to poison control centers made between 2005 and 2015 that dealt with child exposure to opioid substances in kids under the age of 20. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the first few years of the study saw an increase of 86 percent of opioid exposures to children. After 2009, researchers recorded a decline of almost 32 percent, barring one exception: buprenorphine. Instead, buprenorphine exposures increased from 2014 to 2015 after declining from 2011 to 2013. Additionally, children aged zero to five years accounted for almost 90 percent of buprenorphine exposures during the study.

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