A new study published online by Pediatrics has revealed that even children are affected by the opioid crisis in the U.S.

According to the researchers from the Center for Injury Research and Policy and the Central Ohio Poison Center at Nationwide Children's Hospital, nearly 12,000 children in the U.S. ingest opioid drugs each year by accident.

The shocking data was revealed after they reviewed all calls made to U.S. poison control centers from 2000 to 2015. A staggering number of more than 11,000 calls reporting children who ingested opioid drugs each year were noted.

Some of the results of the study included the following:

  1. An average of 32 calls a day, or one call every 45 minutes were made to US Poison Control Centers reporting children who were exposed to prescription opioids.
  2. About 60 percent of the calls were for children ages 5 or younger. Most of them ingested it because they found the pill by mistake.
  3. A total of 175 children, or 0.1 percent, died as a result of the opioid they ingested. Some of them even had a cardiac arrest and went into coma, while most experienced vomiting and difficulty in breathing.
  4. Most of the incidents occurred at home. The researchers noted that unintended poisonings are now the leading cause of injury-related mortality in the United States.

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"The opioid crisis which has been affecting our adult population has now trickled down to our children," said Dr. Marcel Casavant, study author, medical director of the Central Ohio Poison Center, and chief toxicologist at Nationwide Children's Hospital in a statement obtained by Eurekalert.

Casavant added that when adults bring medications like opioid into their home, it can pose danger to children, so proper storage in a locked cabinet is vital.

Live Science noted that one way to prevent accidental ingestion is by packaging opioid drugs in blister packs, instead of having an entire bottle filled with prescription pills.

New York Times reported that the painkiller, which was falsely advertised as safe since the mid-19900s has killed more than 33,000 people in 2015.

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