For the majority of parents, the safety of their child is their top priority. At the same time, there are many children every year who are victims of drug overdoses, which result in serious illness or death. Children do not need to overdose on illicit drugs to experience these effects; they can, and often do, come as a result of pharmaceutical drugs. Sadly, these types of incidents are easy to prevent. Every parent should learn to protect their child from ingesting too many of these drugs. Parents can start by being aware of their home environment.
Proper Medication Storage
Note the location of your medications, both prescription and non-prescription. It’s likely that you store them in a place where children can easily get to them if desired. It’s a commonly held assumption that prescription medications are more dangerous than non-prescription, and so parents are likely to hide these drugs better than the ones purchased over-the-counter. The truth is that both are equally dangerous for children.
It is recommended that any in household in which young children reside, parents need to lock these medications up or place them high above a child’s reach, taking into account that children like to explore their environment and may climb up to get at them. Both children’s and adult’s medication should be treated this way.
The unusual colors and appearances of most drugs make them appeal to children, who like to satisfy their curiosity by delving into the world around them. They may assume the drugs are sweets and try to eat them. It is important that you educate your child about why this is the wrong thing to do and can hurt them. You can stick icky labels on the medication bottles so they can identify by sight which products to avoid. Your children may be too young to comprehend what this means, however, so you must not only teach them by word of mouth but prevent them from being in potentially dangerous situations by keeping all pharmaceutical drugs hidden and locked away.
Be Aware of Your Guests
If you have guests that visit your home, you must take into consideration that they may have drugs in easily accessible places, such as in their handbags. This can end up being a very dangerous situation. Even if you are able to keep your child safe inside your home, that is no certainty that outside the home they will be protected in the same way. Watch your child closely. Talk to the person whose home you are visiting about your concerns and see if they can lock their medications up. Many people who do not have young children to contend with do not readily think of all of the potential dangers in their home.
In Case of Ingestion
If despite your best efforts your child has taken too much medication or medication not meant for him or her, it is important to act right away. Dial 911 and speak with the person who answers to inform them what kind of drug your child has taken and the amount. Keep contact information for poison control on hand. Staying up-to-date about this issue can save your child’s life.
Older children and teenagers are also susceptible to drug overdoses. The incidence of drug use in adults has increased in the past few years, and it is easy to see why so many children are eager to emulate their parents.
In American culture, drugs are everywhere. Children and teenagers often believe it is a good idea to try these drugs and that it is safe if done the right way. Age twelve is the average age that children begin experimenting with these substances.
Authorities Express Alarm
Police, medical organizations, and the federal and state government have all become concerned about this pervasive drug abuse by children and teenagers. The FDA has placed information about keeping children safe from drugs of all kinds online.
Data on this topic reinforces the seriousness of this problem. In 2005, millions of teenagers took prescription medication for non-medical purposes according to SAMHA, also known as the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Children and teenagers may be under the assumption that medications, as opposed to illicit drugs, are not very harmful. However, they are exposing themselves to the same dangers using these drugs as they would if they were to take illegal drugs, including that of chemical dependency.
Misuse of Prescription Medication
The bathroom medicine cabinet is the primary place that children and teenagers will raid to first get high. When combined with alcohol, even common drugs like over-the-counter ibuprofen can be dangerous, particularly so if a child overdoses on them. It is easy to buy prescription medications online without a prescription, especially for teenagers who know their way around the web. Many commonly prescribed drugs can be used to increase energy or as a tranquilizer.