The death rate from opioid overdose among US children and teens have tripled in the past two decades amid an ongoing drug epidemic in the country, a new study shows.
Almost 9,000 children and teenagers died from opioid poisoning from 1999 to 2016, and annual deaths increased threefold over the 18 years, a team of researchers at Yale University reported Friday.
The finding suggests the opioid epidemic will likely continue unless lawmakers, public health officials, doctors and parents do more to keep the drugs out of the hands of young people, the study said.
More than 80 percent of the deaths among children and teens were unintentional, while five percent were from suicide and about 2 percent from homicide, the researchers reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
“These deaths don’t reach the magnitude of adult deaths from opioids, but they follow a similar pattern,” said lead researcher Julie Gaither, an…