Children See Increased Exposure to Prescription Meds

SPRINGFIELD, Mo.-- According to a study recently published in the Journal Pediatric, poison control centers across the country received nearly 200 thousand calls regarding children and teens exposed to opioid drugs between 2000 and 2015.

The most commonly endangered age group were those between infancy and five years old, accidentally finding these meds.

The second most at risk group, were teens. And the study says more than two thirds of those cases were intentional exposures.

However, around the year 2009, the numbers shifted for the most part and the amount of opioids exposed to kids started tapering off.

Though one drug, buprenorphine, has stayed on a consistent increase since then.

"Buprenorphine is a pretty interesting medication," says Baker.

Ryan Baker is a pharmacist with Cox Health. He says unlike opioids like Hydrocodone and Oxycontin, Buprenorphine is used as a treatment drug for those who are opioid dependent.

"So maybe who abused opioids at one point," Baker says.

His reason for it's rise in child consumption.

"I'd say maybe as the opioid crisis has grown over the years, so too has our ability to try and treat it," he says.

But despite the good intentions of the drug, it still poses a major threat to unsuspecting children.

"Exposure in a child would be very concerning," Baker says.

The bleak reality of an endangered child is just one scenario State Representative Lynn Morris's drug prevention task force met Monday to talk about preventing.

"This'll be the first of several meetings this year. How're we going to go out into our communities and actually try to make a difference?," he challenges.

But joining a task force isn't the only way to fight drug related hospitalization in children.

He says lives can be saved by just keeping dangerous meds, out of reach and out of sight.

"They can look like candy. So safe storage goes a long way," Baker says.

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