Study: More Children Overdosing On Prescription Medication

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(CBS) - As more adults are using prescription medicines, a new study shows the rates of poisonings in children are also increasing.

Susan Dreiss-Carroll keeps her pain killers out of the reach of her 10 and 11-year-old daughters.

"It's always scary to have pain killers in the house," said Dreiss-Carroll.

Susan is a breast cancer survivor.  She was prescribed pain killers after a double mastectomy and hysterectomy.   She tells her daughters the drugs are dangerous.

A new study in The Journal of Pediatrics found a link between a surge in adults taking prescription drugs and an increase in children getting drug poisoning.   Children under age 6 face the greatest risk, followed by teenagers.

Despite safeguards like child-resistant packaging, more than 70,000 children a year are evaluated in the hospital for accidental drug poisoning.  Researchers found poisonings from cholesterol medications and high blood pressure drugs led to the most ER visits.

Poisonings from prescription pain killers and diabetes medications led to the most serious injuries and hospitalizations.

Experts say simple steps can protect children.

"Make sure you keep those medications in those child-resistant bottles, and remember, it's child-resistant, not child-proof," said Dr. Yves Duroseau.  "Don't refer to the medications as candy, and try not to take the medications in front of your children."

Susan Dreiss-Carroll says she is very clear with her daughters: medications are only for when you're sick.

"They'll go 'I know mom, I know dad, you've told us before.'  And we'll go 'That's okay, you can hear it again," she said.

She hopes the constant communication will keep her daughters safe.

Doctors say if a child accidentally ingests prescription drugs, consult a medical professional or call Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222.

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