America is in the midst of an addiction epidemic that has far-reaching consequences. The idea that drug addiction only impacts the addict is a proven fallacy. When someone is addicted, loved ones and society as a whole also pay a price. According to a new study just released, our nation’s most vulnerable population – children – are also at particular risk of poisoning due to the presence of addictive substances.
Report Highlights Dangers of Poisoning for Babies and Preschoolers
The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) released a report on April 10 which reveals the dangers faced by this nation’s babies and preschoolers who are exposed to addictive substances. Specifically, there have been more than 30,000 reported cases of toxic exposures in children under the age of 6 in 2016 alone. These include exposures to addictive substances such as prescription medications, marijuana, alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine.
The study compiled its figures from data collected by the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) in addition to other sources. Some of the substances of increased concern are marijuana edibles, opioids, and the nicotine that is found in e-cigarettes.
The exposure rate for prescription opioids has gone up 93 percent annually over a period of nine years. Marijuana exposures have increased 148 percent over an eight-year period. These toxic exposures in such young children can lead to serious consequences such as respiratory issues, seizures, and even death.
Recommendations to Protection Young Children from Addictive Substances
The good news is that these exposures are completely preventable. There is no reason that such young children should ever have their hands on a dangerous or addictive substance. The report also gives recommendations for parents, healthcare professionals, and policymakers to help prevent further exposures and injuries to this vulnerable population.
Recommendations for parents:
- Limit the number of substances in the home
- Store and dispose of dangerous substances properly
- Set a good example for children when it comes to any substance use
- Have emergency numbers on hand in the case of a toxic exposure
Recommendations for healthcare professionals:
- Counsel parents about storing and disposing of addictive substances
- Provide information about the dangers of poisoning in children
- If a child displays signs of poisoning, conduct tests for addictive substances
- Consider the parent’s drug history when treating children in an emergency situation
Recommendations for policymakers:
- Regulate industries to avoid marketing items that target children
- Regulate products in smaller and more child-proof packages
- Regulate nicotine product flavors that are less attractive to children
- Assure legal immunity for parents who report accidental child exposure to toxic substances
Where Parents Can Get Addiction Treatment Help
When you have young children, it can be a tough decision to get addiction treatment for a substance use disorder. You may not want to admit that you have an addiction issue for fear of losing your children. Unfortunately, continuing with the use of addictive substances not only puts your children at risk of poisoning accidents, but there is also the chance that social services will become involved in your life anyway.
Both you and your children deserve a better life, which is one that is free from alcohol and drugs. At The Recovery Village, we offer a wide range of addiction treatment options that we will tailor to meet your particular needs and circumstances. Contact us now to learn more about your options and take the first step toward recovery for you and your family.