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Accidental Prescription Drug Poisonings on the Rise

GRAPHIC: The National Institutes of Health finds 12th-graders abusing prescription and over-the counter medications. Courtesy of: NIH
GRAPHIC: The National Institutes of Health finds 12th-graders abusing prescription and over-the counter medications. Courtesy of: NIH
July 9, 2013

DALLAS - As prescriptions increase for adult aches, pains and chronic illnesses, there's been a corresponding spike in accidental poisonings in children. That's the finding of a new study in the July issue of Pediatrics magazine. It says among those at highest risk are children under age five.

According to Dr. Brett Roth, medical director at the North Texas Poison Center, that means parents need to do a better job of keeping the drugs out of reach.

"They're putting them in pill bottles or little pill boxes that are not protected, and they're just leaving them out accidentally, and so they're just finding their ways into the hands of the toddlers," he cautioned.

The study also found a concerning increase in such medication poisonings among teen-agers, who are using them for recreational purposes or in attempts at self-harm.

The CDC says the number of childhood deaths from accidental poisoning went up by 80 percent in the past decade.

Roth said it's a trend that's likely to continue, as more Americans turn to prescriptions as their first option for any health issue.

"We've become a society of people who are searching for health solutions through poly-pharmacy, and drugs are potentially fraught with side effects and have inherent toxicities," Roth warned.

More information is at goo.gl/9qWbb and at CDC.gov.



John Michaelson, Public News Service - TX