Do you have any old medicine in your cabinet? I know every time I get pain killers I end up not taking the entire bottle and I tend to save the remainders. Why do I do that? I don't know. I guess I just don't like wasting money and I think there may be a time I need it. That never happens. So this story is a good reminder for me to throw out all my old prescriptions.
To small children, prescription pills can look like tempting candy, but the drugs can do serious harm to small bodies. New research finds thousands of parents call Poison Control Centers each year because their children have accidentally swallowed a prescription pain killer and the result is sometimes deadly.
The opiate-based medications hydrocodone and oxycodone are among the most widely prescribed pain killers in America, present in millions of homes. Sold as Vicodin, Oxycontin, Percocet, these are strong drugs that numb pain with just a few pills. But that's also how little it takes to kill a young child.
A new study from the nation's Poison Control Centers finds that thousands of small children each year accidentally overdose on pain killers found in their own homes. Researchers examined calls to Poison Centers in 44 states between 2003 and mid 2006. They found nearly 9,200 children had overdosed on household prescription pain pills. All the cases involved kids less than age 6, with the smallest children suffering the most - the 8 deaths all occurred in children under 3.
An additional 43 children suffered life-threatening or disabling reactions to the drugs. Parents must keep these medications far from young children, experts say, ideally locked up. Don't store them in a nightstand, a coat pocket or a purse where small hands can easily find them.
Source: Published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine by researchers from the Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center
Do you have any prescription medicine you keep on hand?
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