Prescription drug use in adults can lead to dangerous outcomes for their children, according to a recent study published in the journal Pediatrics. Researchers found a strong correlation between the consumption of certain prescription medications by adults and childhood poisoning caused by the same substances. This news is shocking because there has been an increased public health effort to reduce children's access to prescription medication.
The study, conducted by researchers from Boston Children's Hospital, compared monthly pediatric poisonings with the number of adult drug prescriptions from 2000 to 2009. During this time period, pediatric emergency department visits due to medication exposures increased 30 percent, while the rate of hospitalizations increased 36 percent.
The most serious injuries and hospital admissions were the result of opioids (commonly used as painkillers) and diabetes medications. Causing over 35 percent of hospitalizations, opioids were by and large the most dangerous medications for children.
Children under the age of five and those in the 13 to 19-year-old age group had the highest risk of poisoning. Injury in the younger group was most likely caused by accidental ingestion, reflecting their exploratory behavior at that age. However, teen poisoning can probably be attributed to drug abuse or an attempt to self harm.
The researchers suggest that more preventative health care is needed to reduce the amount of medicine being prescribed.
"This is the first step, to identify the extent of the problem," Dr. Lindsey Burghardt, lead researcher of the study, said in a statement. "Despite all these precautions that have been put in place to try to prevent these poisonings in kids, the problem persists.
If you have prescription drugs in your home, make sure they are not being abused by your teen. Intervention Services can help you to arrange a prescription drug intervention to bring your child back to health.