Toddlers: The Voiceless Victims of the Drug Crisis
With the current drug epidemic surging as intensely as it is, the future is starting to appear pretty grim. Every day, parents across the nation are burying their children and even some children are burying their parents. Every day, some teenagers are taking their first toke off a joint or their first pain pill after getting hurt at practice. Every day, a heroin addict looks at their disheveled appearance in the mirror of a public restroom, asking themselves how they got there. Every day an addict checks themselves into rehab, desperate to save their lives. And every day, the unthinkable happens. A curious toddler gets into a bottle of pills or a bag of weed gummies. As the panic-stricken parents call poison control and rush their child to the ER, the last thing they’re thinking about is their own responsibility in the situation.
While teenagers are commonly thought of as the innocent, most youthful victims of the drug crisis, they’re not. The number of toddlers and young children rushed to emergency rooms and poison control centers after getting into their parent’s drugs far exceeds the amount of teens experimenting with them. The statistics are pretty staggering. Over the last 8 years, there has been a 148% increase in children getting exposed to marijuana products with 78% of them under the age of 3 who ate an edible, which prompted a call to poison control. There was also a 93% increase over the last 9 years of young children getting poisoned by prescription opioids as well after getting into a cabinet or drawer containing unsecured medications.
Some of these children who have been accidentally exposed to these drugs are experiencing seizures, coma, and in some instances, death. It especially doesn’t help when weed edibles come in the form of gummy bears or other shapes and flavors that are irresistible to kids. Put side-by-side, even I can’t tell the difference between an edible or a benign piece of candy. Parents who have edibles and prescription drugs in the home, along with small children, have to be absolutely vigilant about keeping their drugs locked up and out-of-reach of anybody who’s not supposed to get into them. Parents need to properly dispose of unused medications and not have a stockpile of unused drugs in their house. They also need to teach their children about the dangers of drugs, be temperate, and set a good example for them. Children are always watching and sometimes it’s “monkey see, monkey do.” If you, as a parent, take drugs, don’t be surprised if you wind up with a child who uses drugs. This crisis is getting extremely scary and now, more than ever, we need to protect our kids. They are the future of our society. They are going to be the ones who’ll eventually run the world. Maybe the answer to the drug epidemic lies within the next generation. Hindsight is 20/20. Perhaps all the mistakes we made can be fixed by protecting our youth.