Monday, September 10, 2012

The accidental poisoning of children and Carisoprodol

There's a fascinating difference in responses when people are told how to run their own homes. Some take the rational approach of listening politely and then making a decision based on common sense. But others are angry the moment the state or, worse, the federal government tries to interfere with "private" matters. Take gun controls as an example. You can't tell most NRA members about how to store their weapons safely. Start talking about installing safes or other places where guns and ammunitions can be kept out of children's hands, and you may justly fear for your own safety.
It's exactly the same when you start talking about installing lockable cabinets for the storage of prescription drugs. Although the risk of a shooting is probably lower, the chances of persuading parents to ensure their children cannot get access to the drugs and treat them as if they were sweeties, are low.
Even when local news media carry stories about a neighbor's child, the reaction seems to be blame of the parent without looking inside their own glass houses.
Why is this a problem? In 2011, the American Association of Poison Control Centers published a report on the scale of pediatric poisoning. That's your children being poisoned. Between 2001 and 2008, almost 550,000 children ended in the ERs with medication poisoning. Of these, more than 75% were so seriously injured, they were hospitalized with amazing medical bills handed to families as their reward for not preventing access. Those with health insurance don't have to pay the price of their own negligence as they are, of course, protected.
When parents can see that the packaging of painkillers, heart medications and muscle relaxants like Carisoprodol are not childproof, they should immediately take greater care. Since we cannot rely on manufacturers to supply flow restrictions on liquid containers or dispensing systems that only allow one pill at a time, locking the drugs away is the only safe option. This raises the question of whether you are keeping your children safe when you have to dash to the ER and spend hours worrying as to whether you child will live due to your failure with powerful drugs like Carisoprodol pills.