Kids are overdosing on prescription painkillers at an alarming rate according to poison control, which receives one call every 45 minutes for a child suffering from opioid poisoning.
Poison control centers are being inundated with calls related prescription medications according to a new study published in the journal Pediatrics and medical professionals are blaming the opioid epidemic. Many parents who take prescription opioids do not properly store the pills, increasing the risks of children taking and overdosing on the drugs. Poison control centers throughout the country are reporting enormous spikes in calls where a child is injured due to an opioid medication, reports The Washington Post.
Poison control is receiving an average of 32 calls a day for child opioid poisoning, and 60 percent of the cases involve children younger than the age of five.
“When adults bring these medications into their homes, they can become a danger to the children that live there,” Marcel Casavant, author of the study and medical director of the Central Ohio Poison Center, told The Washington Post. “It is important that these medications are stored up, away and out of sight of kids of all ages, in a locked cabinet is best.”
The most commonly implicated medications in child poisoning are hydrocodone, oxycodone and codeine. A recent study from Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy says roughly 70 percent of parents prescribed pain medications like Oxycontin, Vicidone and Percocet are not taking responsible precautions to keep the pills away from their children.
Despite the pervasiveness of the opioid epidemic, parents are generally not concerned about their children finding or taking prescription medications.
Nearly 73 percent of parents surveyed by Johns Hopkins researchers acknowledged kids are at a greater risk of overdose from prescription opioids than adults, but only 13 percent said they worry about their kids accessing and abusing their prescription pills.
Even more alarming, parents of older children said they are less worried than parents of younger children, despite the fact many opioid addictions start when teens experiment with pain pills in high school.
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