September 3, 2008

Study Suggests Children Have Easy Access To Prescription Meds

SAN ANTONIO -- A study released Wednesday states thousands of young children were accidentally poisoned after ingesting prescription medicines.

The three-year study published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine (PDF) concluded that children in homes with prescription drugs have easy access to the drugs, particularly opiates.

"They might think it's something, it's something good to eat," said Miguel Fernández, medical director of the South Texas Poison Center. "They may even be familiar with vitamins and think mommy and daddy that vitamins -- so the more, the better."

Fernández said another problem the Poison Center has is that some parents are afraid to call and report any accidental ingestions, particularly those parents who might be undocumented immigrants. He specifically wanted caretakers to know calls to the center can be anonymous and that they offer bilingual services.

The Poison Center is open 24 hours per day and can be reached by calling 1-800-222-1222. More information can also be found at the center's Web site.

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