More kids poisoned by prescription drugs

By: Alicia Gentile Email
By: Alicia Gentile Email

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) -- An alarming new study reveals a rise in child poisonings over the past decade may be linked to the increase of adult prescription drugs found in households.

One of the physicians who co-authored the Journal of Pediatrics study, Dr. Florence Bourgeois, says she has seen numerous children enter her emergency room with poisoning from medications they had access to, and they found the patterns of adult prescription drug use is what causes many of these pediatric poisonings.

The survey was conducted on children up to age 19 and looked at 93,000 cases.

Dr. Bourgeois found many of the children affected by the poisonings had significant injuries.

“In fact, over half of these children were evaluated in the emergency department, and a substantial number were also admitted to the hospital," said Dr. Bourgeois.

The Mesa County Health Department says there are ways you can protect your child from accessing your prescriptions.

“Storing prescription drugs in a high cabinet, somewhere where your kids can't reach, and also making sure that you're securing that cap, the child-proof cap," said Tamara Capp of The Mesa County Health Department.

Dr. Bourgeois noted that poisonings continue to be a significant and increasing problem among children. She says dealing with a three-year-old taking a pill off the counter versus a teen taking painkillers should be handled differently.

“Interventions that take into account both the types of drugs as well as the ages of the children at greatest risks for poisonings are likely to be the most effective," said Dr. Bourgeois,

The doctor believes there is an increase in adult prescription drug use, and she says they looked at medications most commonly prescribed to adults: pills for diabetes, high blood sugar and high blood pressure. All of these medications are related to obesity and poor health, which may be increasing drug use in adults. A downstream effect is an increase of exposure to these drugs by children.

Officials say if you suspect your child may have ingested something they shouldn't, you can call Poison Control. The Western Slope's Regional Poison Control number is 1-800-222-1222.


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