1 of 4 US youths hurt in sports gets opioids at the ER, CDC report says


Injuries from using a skateboard are one of the leading causes of children going to emergency rooms and potentially getting opioids for pain, a new study shows. (Photo: Enquirer file photo)



When an American child age 5 to 9 goes to the emergency room for a sports- or recreation-related injury, roughly one in eight (or 13%) gets a prescription for opioids. Older children and young adults are even more likely to get such drugs.

The findings come from the National Health Statistics Report on emergency-department visits for youth and young adults, released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

The rate at which young children get opioids for sports injuries "doesn't immediately alarm me," said Dr. Shawn Ryan, an addiction specialist and emergency-medicine specialist who founded BrightView recovery centers in Ohio.

Even so, he added: "We should always be conservative with opioids."

Overall, opioids were given or prescribed in almost one-quarter of visits for sports injuries for youths ages 5 to 24.

Children 10-14 received opioids in 1 of 5 visits or 18%. Those 15-19 got them at one in four visits or 24%. Finally, ER patients aged 20–24 received prescription pain medications at nearly one of every two visits or 46% of visits for sports injuries.

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