The number of teens taking excess benzodiazepines, commonly prescribed anxiety medications, has increased dramatically over the past 10 years.
I study, just published in Clinical Toxicology, found a 54% increase in psychiatric drug overdoses in cases involving children aged 12 to 18 who were reported to U.S. Poison Centers from 2000 to 2015.
Researchers from several institutions including MedStar Health analyzed 296.838 cases of benzodiazepine overdose involving children under the age of 18 obtained from the National Poison Control Center.
While the exposure rate in children under the age of 6 has decreased, the rate for adolescents has gone from 17,7 exposures per 100.000 children in 2000 to 27,3 exposures per 100.000 children in 2015. And the trend is still growing. growth.
The study also found an increase in intentional abuse. Nearly half of all exposures reported in 2015 were documented as intentional overdose of psychiatric drugs, misuse, or attempted suicide. The problem of addiction is so widespread at the youth level (almost like alcohol) that it has given rise to controversy at all levels, even on the occasion of the recent release of Joker, the painful film based on the comic.
“Benzodiazepine overdose alone is generally not life-threatening, save for rare side effects. Yet the results of this study show an increase in adolescents taking one or more additional substances. This increases the severity of effects and harms including withdrawal, death or life-threatening symptoms that can affect future health "Said Diane Calello, co-author of the study. Diane is the executive director and physician of the New Jersey Poison Control Center in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School.
About 70.000 children receive emergency care assistance each year due to drug overdoses. Almost 12% of these visits lead to subsequent hospitalization. Calello said that the excessive ease of prescription is certainly one of the causes of this boom that takes on the traits of a real drug intoxication.
"Our study group found that the increasing rate of reported benzodiazepine exposures reflects the increasing rate of benzodiazepine prescriptions that have been reported in the United States over the past decade."he said.