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Rate of Opioid Prescribing High for Teens, Young Adults in ED

From 2005 to 2015, rate of opioid prescribing was 14.9 percent in ED; rates highest for dental pain

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TUESDAY, May 28, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- For adolescents and young adults, the rate of opioid prescribing in emergency departments is high, according to a study published online May 28 in Pediatrics.

Joel D. Hudgins, M.D., from Boston Children's Hospital, and colleagues analyzed National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey and National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey data from 2005 to 2015 to characterize opioid prescribing in adolescents (13 to 17 years old) and young adults (18 to 22 years old). Visits to emergency departments and outpatient clinics were included.

The researchers found that nearly 57 million visits were associated with an opioid prescription among adolescents and young adults. The rates of opioid prescribing were 14.9 and 2.8 percent for emergency department visits and outpatient clinic visits, respectively. Among emergency department visits, there was a small but significant decrease in the rate of opioid prescriptions (odds ratio, 0.96); there was no change for outpatient clinic visits. For emergency department visits, opioid-prescribing rates were highest among adolescents and young adults with dental disorders (59.7 and 57.9 percent, respectively) and among adolescents with clavicle and ankle fractures (47.0 and 38.1 percent, respectively).

"These findings inform targeted interventions and educational programs aiming to ensure judicious use of opioids in adolescents and young adults," the authors write.

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