Nation Failing to Protect Kids from Addictive Substances
In 2016, there were more than 30,500 reports to poison control centers of young children exposed to addictive substances, according to a new report titled “Childhood Poisoning: Safeguarding Young Children from Addictive Substances,” which was released by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA). The data showed that, over the past decade, there’s been an alarming increase in the rate of babies and pre-school age children getting sick from touching or consuming toxic, addictive substances including:
- E-cigarettes: Calls to poison control centers about e-cigarettes increased more than 1,400 percent in just three years.
- Alcohol: Every year since 2012, the number of young children exposed to alcoholic beverages has increased.
- Prescription drugs: Prescription opioid pain relievers increased 93 percent each year over a nine-year period; a rate that corresponds with the growing opioid epidemic.
- Marijuana: Exposure to marijuana increased by 148 percent over a seven-year period. This is includes edibles.
Luckily, parents and caregivers can take steps to avoid this type of accidental exposure and protect children from the potentially life-threatening effects of these substances. “We know from our research that prevention matters and must start in the home and the doctor’s office,” said Creighton Drury, CASA President, in a statement. “It is never too early to protect children from the potentially life-threatening harms of addictive substances and addiction.”
Here are a few tips for parents outlined in the report:
- Keep addictive substances out of sight and out of reach. Store and dispose of all addictive substances with care.
- Save medicine in its original, child-resistant packaging.
- Limit the amount of addictive products in your home. And if you must keep prescription meds in your home, request them in small amounts.
- Save the phone number for the national Poison Help Hotline in your phone: 800- 222-1222 or text POISON to 797979.
- Be honest with your doctors, if you think something addictive or toxic has caused harm to your child.
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