Outpatient opioid prescriptions for children have steadily declined since 2012, driven by fewer prescriptions for hydrocodone, according to a study reported online by JAMA Pediatrics. The average monthly prevalence of hydrocodone prescriptions decreased from a high of 3.2 per 1,000 children in 2011 to 1.4 per 1,000 in 2017, based on data from a large commercial insurance provider. Long-term opioid prescriptions for children also declined over the period. Between 1997 and 2012, hospital stays for opioid poisoning nearly doubled in U.S. children. Opioid use early in life can increase the risk of misuse in the future.

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