THURSDAY, July 22 (HealthDay News) -- The malicious use of
alcohol and medicines is an under-recognized form of child abuse,
according to a new report.
The U.S. study reviewed cases of pharmaceutical-related child
abuse reported to the National Poison Data System between 2000 and
2008. The cases included the use of alcohol, painkillers, cough and
cold medicines, sedatives, sleeping pills and antipsychotic
The findings are scheduled to be published in an upcoming issue
Journal of Pediatrics.
The review included over 1,400 cases, and nearly 14 percent led
to moderate or major consequences for children, including death. In
about half of the cases, children were given at least one sedative.
On average, 160 cases of pharmaceutical abuse, including two
deaths, were reported each year.
Motives for this type of child abuse included punishment,
amusement, or a desire for a break from childcare responsibilities,
the researcher pointed out in a news release from the journal's
The findings highlight a serious problem, according to study
author Dr. Shan Yin, of the University of Colorado and the Rocky
Mountain Poison and Drug Center at Denver Health.
"The malicious administration of pharmaceuticals should be considered an important form of child abuse," Yin stated in the news release.
Pediatricians and emergency medical personnel should be on alert
for this type of child abuse, and comprehensive drug screening
should be used for children who are suspected victims of abuse, Yin
The American Academy of Pediatrics has more about
child abuse and neglect.