While the United States is currently experiencing one of the most savage drug epidemics in history, a new report suggests that parents still have a cavalier attitude towards storing prescription medications, which is giving young children easier access to these dangerous drugs.
Researchers at the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found somewhere around 70 percent of the prescription painkillers in household across America are left unsecured and well within reach of children. The report, which was published in the latest edition of the journal Pediatrics, shows that kids under the age of 17 are having no trouble getting their hands on prescription opioids, simply because their parents are either too lazy or stupid (maybe both) to store these pills in a safe location.
The problem, according to researchers, is that moms and dads all over the country trust their kids not to get into these medications, so they leave pill bottles on kitchen counters and other easy-to-reach spots in the home. However, most of these folks do not take into consideration that leaving pill bottles out in the open may tempt teens into experimentation. Furthermore, this carelessness can also make it easier for smaller kids to gain access, many of which mistake the pills for candy, causing accidental overdoses.
A 2016 study from Yale University found that children are being poisoned by prescription opioids at a rate of 165 percent higher than they were nearly a decade ago. What’s more is this neglect has killed 176 children over the past six years. Of course, all of these unfortunate cases could have been avoided if parents would have simply stored prescription opioids in a secure area.
“We can’t leave opioids just sitting on the nightstand or kitchen counter,” lead study author Eileen McDonald told the Baltimore Sun. “Parents need to be at a minimum putting them out of the way, but ideally putting them under lock and key.”
It’s a situation that shows no sign of slowing down.
Reports now show that 2 million people in the U.S. are prescribed painkillers every year. It is this looseness with the prescription pad that is mainly to blame for the largest uptick in overdose deaths in children under 17-years-old the nation has ever seen. Most doctors are simply not educating the average citizen on prescription safety.
Since the special drug packaging required by law is obviously not enough to combat the severity of this situation, researchers say they are in the process of developing a pill bottle that can only be opened by the person for which a medication is prescribed.