The opioid epidemic’s effect on children and teens in Connecticut

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Almost three dozen teens have died in Connecticut from opioid-related overdoses since 2012.

Out of about 2,600 deaths in the state, 33 were of teenagers (or about 1.3 percent). Ages ranged from 14 to 19, and the figures have been climbing since 2013 after falling from ten in 2012.

Drug overdose deaths by age
Between 2012 and June 2016 in CT.
Year 14 16 17 18 19
2012 0 1 2 3 4
2013 0 0 0 1 2
2014 1 0 1 2 3
2015 0 0 2 3 5
2016 0 0 1 2 1
Office of the Chief Medical Examiner

Meanwhile, the number of children hospitalized for prescription opioid poisoning has nearly doubled in 15 years, according to a new study published Monday in the journal JAMA Pediatrics. In 1997, about 1,000 patients between the ages of 1 and 19 were hospitalized related to opioid poisoning, and in 2012 that figure increased to about 3,000. Parents who suffer from substance abuse have a high risk of passing that on to children, researchers said.

In Connecticut, detailed hospitalization data is not available publicly — just data on deaths and treatment. Since 2012, prescription-opioid related deaths have decreased, while fentanyl and heroin-based overdose deaths combined have increased.

Trend CT has previously noted that deaths related to prescription opioids have leveled off while heroin and fentanyl-related deaths have grown dramatically.

Researchers said they were surprised by the large increase in opioid poisoning among toddlers and preschoolers, most of which occurs after they find medication prescribed for someone else in the home.

Lead author Julie R. Gaither, an epidemiologist and postdoctoral fellow at the Yale School of Medicine, said her team used a database of pediatric hospitalizations that released records every three years up until 2012, the most recent data available.

Looking specifically at the type of opioids involved in poisonings, the data showed that the number dropped between 2009 and 2012 for prescription opioids while it grew for heroin in that same time frame. Across the country, prescription opioids dispensed also fell between 2011 and 2013. Researchers said this indicated teenagers were switching to heroin.

What do you think?

  • Mary Bagnaschi

    What is CT State Police and Municipal police actually doing about this illegal drug trade? NOTHING!!!!! But the CT Judicial Branch does not hesitate to falsely imprison countless victims of illegal profiling of the economically disadvantaged easily targeted and profiled disabled. The prison for profit industry via the corrupt CT Dept of Mental Health and Addiction Services and UCONN Prison health, CT Valley Hospital and private hospitals like Charlotte Hungerford in Torrington, CT are rounding up alleged ‘crazies’ and manipulating them into incarceration and behavioral health ‘treatment’ for low level ‘crimes’ and arrests on misdemeanors like ‘breach of peace’, ‘creating a public disturbance’! The public employee unions depend on such arrests and false incarcerations, psych evaluations and forced ‘treatment’. The CVH hospital is FULL of inpatient prisoners forced to be ‘restored to competency to stand trial’ which are two month psych interventions that target medicare/medicaid recipients because NO private insurer would ever pay for these bogus ‘hospital’ stays. The victims of these false imprisonments have not even been sentenced or found guilty of the low level misdemeanor charges that NEVER go to trial!!!! Meanwhile, the addicts seeking necessary medical intervention are not able to get the help they need to stay alive and the illegal narcotic distributors slip through the cracks of the entire police force who turn their blind eyes because of those who profit are providing the Judicial branch their necessary sheep to be slaughtered in the injustice system.