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- Opioids are a group of natural and synthetic substances used both illicitly and for prescription analgesia.
- Opioids include:
- Opiates—naturally occurring in the opium poppy (e.g., codeine, morphine)
- Semisynthetic derivatives (e.g., hydromorphone, nalbuphine, oxycodone, heroin)
- Synthetic compounds (e.g., fentanyl, meperidine, methadone, tramadol, and various “designer” opioids)
- Complications of opioid use include acute intoxication, dependence/abuse, and withdrawal.
- Opioid use disorder is a DSM-5 diagnosis.
- Please see related chapter, “Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome,” for special considerations of opioid intoxication and withdrawal in the neonate.
- Prescription opioids are the most commonly abused and lethal opioids in the United States.
- Poison control centers received reports of 188,468 prescription opioid exposures among children aged <20 years from 2000 to 2015.
- Children who suffer an opioid overdose are more likely to have a mother who was prescribed opioids and antidepressants.
- Hospitalizations for methadone intoxications and adolescent heroin intoxications are rising.
- Strongest risk factor for heroin addiction is addiction to prescription opioids.
- 45% of heroin users are addicted to prescription opioids.
- Prescription opiate-drug era associated with shorter time from first illicit drug use to injection
- Between 1997 and 2012, in children aged 1 to 19 years, hospitalizations for opioid intoxication rose to 3.71 per 100,000 children, representing a 165% increase; 1.3% of these children died during hospitalization.
- In 2013, 169,000 people aged ≥12 years used heroin for the first time within the previous year.
- Difficult to estimate, based on National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) data
- 3.8 million people in the United States aged ≥12 years reported past month misuse of a prescription pain medication in 2015.
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