Opioid Overdoses Fuel Rise in Accidental Deaths
Opioid overdoses are fueling a sharp increase in accidental deaths in the United States, according to a new report by the National Safety Council.
A new government program aims to protect young children from accidental drug overdoses. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced the “Up and Away and Out of Sight” program, to teach parents how to keep medications out of the hands of young children.
Each year in the United States, one of every 150 two-year-olds ends up in the emergency room because of an accidental medication overdose, according to HealthDay. Most of these cases occur when unsupervised children consume medications they find at home, the CDC says.
“Parents may not be aware of the danger posed by leaving medications where young children can reach them. In recent years, the number of accidental overdoses in young children has increased by 20 percent,” Dr. Dan Budnitz, Director of CDC’s Medication Safety Program, said in a news release. The CDC noted that prescription medicines are not the only danger—over-the-counter medications and vitamins can be harmful if not taken properly.
The campaign advises parents to put medicines in a place children cannot reach or see. Parents should put medicines away every time they use them, and should make sure the safety cap is locked. Never tell children that medicine is candy to get them to take it, and ask visitors and houseguests to put away their medicines out of sight. Finally, the CDC tells parents to program the poison control number (1-800-222-1222) into home and cell phones.