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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Cocaine exposure among children seen at a pediatric hospital.

The results of 1,680 consecutive urine and serum toxicologic screens from 1,120 patients, performed in a children's hospital during a 19-month period were surveyed. Among this sample, 52 (4.6%) patients had specimens that contained cocaine and/or metabolite. Fifteen specimens contained ethanol, a benzodiazepine, or a narcotic in addition to cocaine. Four patients were neonates, whereas three were infants from 1 to 7 months of age. The remaining 45 patients were adolescents with a mean age of 19 years. Among the adolescents, 11 had a significant chronic illness. In 19 patients (37%), cocaine exposure was unsuspected until the results of testing for toxic substances were known. The reasons for hospital evaluation included depression/attempted suicide in 19 patients, seizure in five, chest pain in 5, motor vehicle accident in three, syncope in three, abdominal pain in two, pneumomediastinum in two, accidental self-immolation in one, and apnea in one. Twenty patients required medical hospitalization for a total of 268 patient-days. One patient, a neonate, died. There is a striking prevalence of cocaine exposure in the pediatric age group. Among adolescents, this exposure may occur despite the presence of chronic illness. Although the age distribution appears bimodal, infants and young children may also have unsuspected exposure to this toxin. Greater awareness of cocaine exposure in childhood will be needed by primary and tertiary care pediatricians to identify affected children and provide appropriate intervention.[1]


  1. Cocaine exposure among children seen at a pediatric hospital. Shannon, M., Lacouture, P.G., Roa, J., Woolf, A. Pediatrics (1989) [Pubmed]
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