“Malicious” use of drugs an under-recognized form of child abuse

By Laura Stone, Postmedia News

“The “malicious” use of pharmaceuticals on children is an under-recognized form of child abuse, according to a study released on July 22.

New research that analyzes information from the U.S. National Poison Centre Data System from the past decade shows a small but steady number of children, median age two, who were found to have been exposed to at least one sedating agent, including street drugs, antipsychotics, cough medicines, and ethanol.

“It’s an aspect of child abuse that is not often considered,” said Dr. Shan Yin, a pediatrician at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and author of the study published in The Journal of Pediatrics.

“I think this is going on, probably throughout the country, and we’re not paying attention to it.”

The study looked at cases from 2000 to 2008, involving pharmaceutical exposure to children under seven years old, for which the reason was coded as “malicious” by poison centre standards.”