There's a harmful drug that adults are bringing into homes that is adversely affecting young children. But it's not pot or cannabis oil. It's a prescribed pharmaceutical that's not as ubiquitous as over-the-counter (OTC) acetaminophen (Tylenol), which also sends kids to emergency rooms.
It's called buprenorphine (byoo-pre-NOR-feen), which was originally approved as a painkiller up to 50 times more powerful than morphine, according to the Washington, DC-based Fox 5 news site. Then, buprenorphine was mixed with naloxone, used as an antidote for opioid drug overdoses, including heroine and OxyContin.
The combination of these two drugs was designed to ween junkies and prescription painkiller users from addiction through withdrawal to clean again with less cravings and suffering and little or no "high" sensation. At first, it was injected at a doctor's office, but patients were soon given the wherewithal to inject themselves.
But before long, sublingual tablets were packaged under the brand name Suboxone. Now others are producing approved generic versions with the stipulation that each tablet is individually wrapped to prevent young children from popping those pills out of curiosity.
The reason for this stipulation comes from the rising episodes of children under six being rushed to hospital ERs after becoming toxically overwhelmed by the drug.
Surprising numbers from a recent study
A study was undertaken to determine what prescription medicines not normally prescribed for preschool kids were sending kids to emergency rooms. The study was published in the journal Pediatrics on September 15, 2014. The researchers analyzed data that was collected from 2007 to 2011.
The overall reach of this study, "Emergency Hospitalizations for Unsupervised Prescription Medication Ingestions by Young Children," did not target any specific prescription medication. They just wanted to determine which ones were being ingested and what problems they were creating for children six and under.
The numbers of ER issues from prescribed buprenorphine or pharmaceutical "medicines" containing buprenorphine surprised them. Over the time period between 2007 and 2011, the annual average was around 800. Their report did not include deaths, but according to the Fox 5 report, deaths have been reported.
The rate of adverse reactions among children was over four times higher than the previously known prescription drug that caused kids' ER visits, a commonly prescribed blood pressure medicine. It comes down to 200 child ER visits per 100,000 prescriptions of buprenorphine or compounds containing it.
One of the researchers, Dr. Daniel Budnitz, MD, MPH, is also the director of medication safety at the CDC. He mentioned that loose tablets in a bottle may result in kids opening the bottles and spilling them, subjecting them to overdoses, which shouldn't take much.
Even as a painkiller, the UK medical system doesn't permit prescribing buprenorphine to anyone under 16. Dr. Budnitz hopes the new required method of packaging, wrapping each tablet individually, will sufficiently inhibit accidental pharmaceutical poisoning in children who aren't prescribed the drugs and lower the ER count substantially.
Oh the hypocrisy!
While this drug and those OTC acetaminophen drugs send thousands to the ER annually with some winding up dead, the feds need to make sure that there's no pot in most Americans' homes. Bashing down doors at 6:00 AM, shooting family pets and terrorizing handcuffed parents and kids will show them what law and order's all about.
Never mind that cannabis in any form has therapeutic effects that are more effective than just about anything that Big Pharma can produce to be prescribed by their licensed MD drug pushers. Those drugs cause over a 100,000 deaths annually.
None, zip, nada can be directly attributed to medicinal or recreational cannabis use over several decades.