Statistical studies over the last decade have indicated a steep rise in opioid poisoning among children. Scholars and experts have been studying this phenomenon. Research in top universities is recording the rise in poisoning incidents, particularly among children and teenagers.
What Could Be The Main Reason?
The easy availability of opioid painkillers in household medicine cabinets is the single largest reason for opioid child poisoning.
These are prescription drugs, usually painkillers that are quite commonly stored in homes. Sometimes they are excess medications stored long before and forgotten but are very much in reach for a child. For example a cancer patient may be prescribed large doses of opioid drugs as painkillers. However, if a child who weighs around 30 to 50 lbs partakes drugs that are meant for a 150 lb adult, the result could be disastrous.
There is not much awareness around these prescription drugs. Doctors too are not conditioned or instructed to warn patients about these drugs being available to children. Its almost as if anyone asking you if you possessed a gun at home and have a license.
A study conducted over fifteen years of data revealed thousands of hospital discharge cases due to opioid poisoning.
Sometimes the sweet taste and availability in the form of candies or lollipops tempt children to eat them and even go overboard. The number of toddlers hospitalized has nearly doubled. The percentage of teenagers suffering from depression and suicidal tendencies is quite high compared to all other age brackets resulting in the rise of teenagers hospitalized for opioid poisoning.
Opioid medications are common prescription drugs. So the only way to mitigate this issue is by doctors, pediatricians coming together to raise awareness among patients. The doctors must instruct the patients to spread the word among family members to prevent any untoward incident owing to opioid poisoning. A good alternative is also to prescribe short-term rather than long term prescriptions, thereby not allowing for storage in easily available medicine cabinets.