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Parents concerned after overdose rates on the rise, DC psychiatrist says

Children's National Hospital (7News)
Children's National Hospital (7News)
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7News has reported on several incidents of overdoes in local schools. Parents are wondering what is going on, why, and how can we stop it?

7News’ Adrianna Hopkins spoke to Dr. Siva Kaliamurthy, a child and adolescent addiction psychiatrist at Children’s National Hospital. He says he’s very alarmed by these trends.

He says overdose rates are up across all age groups, but since 2020, he’s seen a spike in overdoses in teens – especially 16 and 17-year-olds.

ALSO READ | Hundreds show up at Arlington Narcan training event after Wakefield HS apparent overdose

He says their “drug of choice” is fentanyl. He also points out, we were in a teen mental health epidemic before the pandemic and the Covid lockdowns made it worse. Plus, access to drugs is easier now than ever before. As parents, here’s how to address the “drug talk” with your kids.

“As parents, everyone tends to be concerned about the safety of their child and we tend to exaggerate the claims around this drug. And when we do that, the kids stop listening. So accuracy is very important,” said Dr. Kaliamurthy.

SEE ALSO | 'Hard on all of us': how APS is responding after an apparent drug overdose at Wakefield HS

Dr. Kaliamurthy also says to consider your family history – is there a history of addiction? Is your child struggling in school? Has your child experienced trauma in life?

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If so, doctors would consider your child “at risk” for drug use, and he says you should have naloxone on hand, just in case.

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