Children’s Accidental Exposure to Buprenorphine on the Rise

Children’s accidental exposure to the opioid addiction medication buprenorphine is increasing, according to new data from U.S. poison control centers.

Between 2007 and 2016, poison control centers received 11,275 calls about children’s exposure to buprenorphine, CNN reports. Eighty-six percent of exposures were in children younger than 6, and 89 percent of the exposures were unintentional. Buprenorphine can dangerously slow young children’s breathing. Almost one-quarter of the children under 6 who are exposed spend time in intensive care, the researchers noted.

Full story at drugabuse.org

Majority of opioid medications not safely stored in homes with children, survey finds

Nearly 70 percent of prescription opioid medications kept in homes with children are not stored safely, a new study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health finds.

In a national survey of 681 adults who used opioid pain relievers in the past year and had children ages 17 and younger living with them, only 31 percent reported safely storing them away from their children. Among those homes with children seven to 17 years old, just 12 percent reported safe storage.

The researchers defined safe storage as keeping the medication in a locked or latched place for homes with younger children and a locked place for homes with older children.

Full story of safely storing opioid medication in home at Science Daily

Do children inherit drug protection from parents exposed to nicotine or drugs?

A father’s nicotine use may have a significant impact on children’s risk of some diseases. In a study published in the online biomedical sciences journal eLife, Oliver J. Rando, MD, PhD, and colleagues at UMass Medical School, demonstrate that mice born of fathers who are habitually exposed to nicotine inherit enhanced chemical tolerance and drug clearance abilities. These findings offer a powerful framework for exploring how information about a father’s environmental exposure history is passed down to offspring.

“Children born of fathers who have been exposed to nicotine are programmed to be not only more resistant to nicotine toxicity, but to other chemicals as well,” said Dr. Rando, professor of biochemistry & molecular pharmacology. “If a similar phenomenon occurs in humans, this raises many important questions. For example, if your father smoked does that mean chemotherapy might be less effective for you? Are you more or less likely to smoke? It’s important to understand what information is specifically being passed down from father to offspring and how that impacts us.”

Full story on children inheriting drug protection from parents at Science Daily

Commentary: The Most Under-Recognized Public Health Crisis

We lose nearly 130 people a day to drug overdoses. It is the leading cause of accidental death in the United States, and the loss is felt most acutely by the families left behind. By doing a better job of helping families and their addicted children, we can most effectively reduce these deaths and the accompanying pain and suffering.

Nothing tears apart the fabric of a family quite like having a child who’s struggling with drugs or alcohol. In my experience, parents of these kids are usually overwhelmed by feelings of guilt, shame and fear. Will their child be alive the next morning? When they most need a comprehensive evaluation of their child’s condition and evidence-based treatment options as “standards of care” to consider, they instead find conventional wisdom from well-meaning friends and recommendations from under-trained healthcare professionals. In an age when most people use the Internet to access health information for their family, there is very little reliable science-based information available online, a far cry from the abundant resources for all other adolescent and young adult health issues and disorders.

Full story of under-recognized public health crisis at drugfree.org 

Infant Who Swallowed E-Cigarette Refill Liquid Highlights Emerging Danger: Report

Doctors in Philadelphia say a 10-month-old infant who was rushed to the emergency room after swallowing e-cigarette refill liquid is one of a growing number of children who have been harmed by the fluid.

In this week’s New England Journal of Medicine, the doctors describe the incident. The child recovered, HealthDay reports. But just “one teaspoon of a 1.8 percent nicotine solution could be lethal” to a person who weighs 200 pounds, the doctors note.
The baby boy was taken to the hospital after swallowing a small amount of e-liquid nicotine. He began vomiting after drinking the liquid. His heart rate increased and he showed signs of losing muscle control. His symptoms gradually subsided after about six hours in the hospital.

Full story of infant swallowing e-cigarette refill at drugfree.org