Kids overdosing is a public health emergency, Canadian pediatricians say

By The Canadian Press

A new survey says an alarming number of kids age 12 and older have been treated for drug overdoses in Canada.

The Canadian Paediatric Surveillance Program says stimulants are the most commonly reported cause of severe or life-threatening overdoses, followed by sedatives and opioids.

The report says drug overdoses are a public health emergency.

It says fatal overdoses are the leading cause of death in children and teens between 10 and 18 years old in Western Canada.

But also says the problem exists across the country, with pediatric specialists in all 10 provinces reporting treating overdoses.

B.C. Children’s Hospital pediatrician Dr. Matthew Carwana says the issue is even more concerning because the survey didn’t capture kids and teens who may have overdosed but didn’t seek pediatric care.

In a release Carwana says there’s a great need for prevention and intervention strategies for children and youth in the ongoing overdose crisis.

The study included survey responses from more than 1,000 pediatricians across Canada.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 16, 2023.

Canadian Press health coverage receives support through a partnership with the Canadian Medical Association. CP is solely responsible for this content.

The Canadian Press

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