More Hoosier kids accidentally overdosing from pills and illegal drugs

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — The drug epidemic is hitting Hoosier families hard. We’re now learning illegal drugs are having a huge impact on children.

The Indiana Poison Center reports more than 50 children so far this year have presented overdose symptoms from opioids.

Toxicology experts want to warn parents that kids can accidentally get their hands on anything in the house. Dr. Blake Froberg is one of the state’s toxicologists who work with children. He said the majority of kids they see are less than 6 years old.

According to new data from the state’s poison center, so far in 2017, they’ve seen 400 cases of kids getting their hands on antihistamines and 870 for pain medications. All of these cases are for children under the age of 6.

“It can be anything from an over-the-counter medication, like allergy over-the-counter medications, to an opioid pain medication,” Dr. Froberg explained.

The numbers of kids showing symptoms of an overdose due to illegal drugs is even more concerning. In 2016, The Indiana Poison Center reports 29 cases involving a Suboxone, 12 for Oxycodone, 11 for meth, and 1 for cocaine.

Dr. Froberg said these cases are especially concerning because a child’s tolerance to these drugs would not be as strong as their parents might be, if those adults do illegal drugs on a regular basis.

Nationwide statistics show so far in 2017, there’ve been 15 cases involving kids and heroin. It’s unknown if the children had reactions from ingesting or touching the drug. Indiana reports 3 cases involving heroin so far this year. The data is specific to children under the age of 6. The increase in numbers can be attributed to the state’s drug epidemic.

“When you do have greater numbers of adults that are using a drug of abuse like heroin or cocaine, you do see occasionally a child that gets into those products,” Dr. Froberg said.

While some of these cases can’t be avoided, doctors recommend parents to use a lock box for any prescription drugs. Even kids know how to climb a counter to get into a medicine cabinet.

“You shouldn’t think of those bottles as being child proof. You should think of them as a mild deterrent. A child, if they’re determined enough will be able to open up those bottles,” said Dr. Froberg.

You can call the poison center at 1-800-222-1222 if you think your child might need help from ingesting something.