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Pediatric Drug Poisoning Is on the Rise

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

medication toxicity

Story at-a-glance -

  • Between 2001 and 2008, 453,559 children aged 5 or younger were admitted to a health care facility following exposure to a potentially toxic dose of a pharmaceutical drug
  • Between 2001 and 2008, unintentional drug poisonings in children aged 5 and younger rose 22%
  • Prescription medications were responsible for 71% of serious injuries, with opioids, sedative-hypnotics and cardiovascular drugs topping the list of drugs causing serious harm
  • 51.5% of unintentional drug poisoning cases in children involved drugs accessed as a result of having been removed from its original childproof packaging
  • In 49.3% of cases involving attention deficit hyperactivity disorder medications and 42.6% of cases involving an opioid, the drug was left out in the open

Aside from causing a wide variety of side effects in those who take medications, the widespread routine use of pharmaceuticals also pose a serious risk to children who get their hands on them.

As of 2016, nearly half of the U.S. population were on at least one medication. Twenty-four percent used three or more drugs, and 12.6% were on more than five different medications. According to the 2016 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, 73.9% of all doctor’s visits also involved drug therapy.


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