Prescription Drug-Induced Accidental Deaths Continue To Rise Among ChildrenDec 23rd, 2011 | By Dr. Jeffrey Huttman Ph.D. | Category: Addiction Treatment, Prescription Drug Abuse rehab
As prescription drug abuse continues to grip the nation, law enforcement and legislative efforts typically focus on the addicts, doctors and pill mills. The sad truth, however, is that prescription drug abuse affects others, too, including children.
Unfortunately, Americans are being falsely comforted by the fact that these drugs are prescribed to them and are therefore safe. What we don’t understand is that prescription abuse can be just as addictive and even more deadly than street drugs such as heroin and cocaine. With parents having easier access to prescription drugs than ever before, this false comfort trickles down to those who are vulnerable to these vices: young adults and children. While other preventable death statistics drop, deaths due to prescription drug overdoses continue to rise.
For 25 percent of today’s children between ages 10 and 19, prescription drugs are already a part of a daily routine. While adults can seek out education for their own prescriptions and the danger of interaction with other drugs or alcohol, a teenager may or may not understand that the mixture of these substances can be deadly. Most importantly, these drugs can be found as close as the nearest medicine chest. For parents of teenagers that take prescription narcotics, such as an opioid, be aware of these dangers and enlist the help of prescription drug resources to ensure that your children are aware of them, too.
It may be safest to consider keeping prescriptions completely out of the reach of all children in the home. A parent may want to make him or herself responsible for keeping medication in a safe place and distributing to adults and children as they are prescribed. Taking this step is especially important if small children are in the house. If a prescription goes unused, it can be safely disposed of, instead of sitting, expired, in your home, posing an unnecessary risk to children and teenagers. Although most prescription bottles are meant to keep children out, studies show that with the rise of prescription drugs in the home, there has been a corresponding increase in accidental deaths of children due to prescription drug overdose.
Although accidental deaths due to prescription drug overdose represent needless tragedies, the good news is that these deaths can be prevented. Educate yourself and your family about safe handling of prescriptions, the effects of prescription drug and the safe disposal of unused medication. Studies show that prescription medications pose more of a threat than over-the-counter medications when it comes to accidental poisonings, so taking the time to make your family aware of the potential hazard can go a long way in helping to prevent a tragedy.