In a poll survey conducted among 1,200 participants, results showed that one third of the participating parents said their children received narcotic painkillers, as reported in a news release. About 8 percent of parents said they returned excess medicine to the doctor or pharmacy. Another 30 percent of them said they disposed the medicines by flushing it in the toilet or simply put it in the garbage. A good six percent reported keeping the leftovers to be used by other family members, while 9 percent of them said they misplaced the pills.
In addition to all the illicit drugs being used in the U.S., prescription painkillers have become agents of substance abuse due to excess medicine left unattended by parents with children aged 5-17 years old.
Opioid painkillers like Oxycontin or Percocet are used to treat severe to chronic pain due to surgery and illnesses. However, an overdose of these drugs can lead to physiological, cognitive and behavioral problems.
In the U.S. some physicians overprescribe opioid drugs, which may lead to the opportunity to misuse the medication. Oftentimes, the amount of prescribed drugs for pain is far greater than what the patient actually needs. In the case of children prescribed with painkillers, parents simply keep the excess pills instead of taking these back to the prescribing doctor or the pharmacy.
The issue on leftover prescription drugs not disposed by parents can lead to early addiction of young adults who are very curious, said Sarah Clark, co-director of the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health.
Clark also added that parents may lose the opportunity to inhibit their kids from misusing prescribed medicines. Ignorance and apathy towards the treatment of leftover prescription medication may result to drug addiction in their teenage children.