PAS 2019—Pediatric opioid-related death rates spike


  • Emily Willingham, PhD
  • Conference Reports
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Takeaway

  • Pediatric opioid-related death rates have almost tripled in the United States since 1999.
  • Rates vary by region.

Why this matters

  • About 500 US children die annually from opioid-related poisoning.
  • The influence of region of residence has not been established.
  • This study does not establish what might underlie these differences.

Key results

  • 8986 children died from opioid-related poisoning from 1999 to 2016.
  • Rate increased 268.2% (Ptrend<.001 from to per children during that time.>
  • The Northeast had the highest mortality rates (1.05 per 100,000 in 2016), but the Midwest saw the steepest increase: 
    • 429% (Ptrend<.001>
    • From 0.17 in 1999 to 0.90 per 100,000 in 2016.
  • The West saw the lowest increase, though still significant:
    • 200.0% (Ptrend<.001>
    • From 0.19 in 1999 to 0.57 per 100,000 in 2016.
  • Much of the increase were deaths from heroin, synthetic opioids (e.g., illicit fentanyl) among adolescents.
  • 32.1% of opioid-related adolescent deaths in the Northeast were because of heroin use, vs 18.3% in the South.

Study design

  • CDC mortality data, 1999-2016, by 4 US regions for those age

Limitations

  • Data were presented at a conference and were not peer-reviewed.
  • Reporting errors possible.

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