TUESDAY, Dec. 13, 2022 (HealthDay News) — U.S. poison centers reported greater than 330,000 misuse and abuse exposure cases and 450 deaths over 20 years for school-aged children and adolescents, according to a study published online Dec. 5 in Clinical Toxicology.

Adrienne R. Hughes, M.D., from Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, and colleagues examined recent trends and patterns of intentional substance misuse and abuse exposures among U.S. school-aged children and adolescents. The analysis included intentional misuse and abuse exposures in children (6 to 18 years) reported to the National Poison Data System (2000 through 2020).

The researchers identified 338,727 cases, with misuse/abuse ingestions fluctuating over time and a peak in 2011. More intentional misuse/abuse ingestions occurred in males (58.3 percent) and in older children (>80 percent in youth aged 13 to 18 years). Nearly one-third of ingestions (32.6 percent) resulted in worse than minor clinical outcomes, with a greater number of severe medical outcomes occurring in older versus younger age groups. Deaths were rare overall (450; 0.1 percent), with male sex, older age, abuse ingestions, exposure site of a public area or other residence, and multiple ingested substances associated with increased mortality. There was a dramatic rise in marijuana exposure rates occurring from 2017 to 2020 (245 percent since 2000), with edible marijuana preparations accounting for the highest increase in call rates.

“These findings highlight an ongoing concern about the impact of rapidly evolving cannabis legalization on this vulnerable population,” the authors write.

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