HOPEWELL, Va. — Seven children who were rushed to the hospital for a suspected drug overdose are expected to make a full recovery, according to Hopewell Police.
Detectives said four children were found unresponsive at a home on South 16th Avenue Wednesday afternoon. Officers located an empty sleeping pill bottle nearby, and three other children who were showing signs of sleepiness.
All seven were rushed to the hospital and are recovering. Hopewell Police said on Thursday they do not expect the children to suffer any long-term effects due to the exposure.
Dr. Rutherford “Ruddy” Rose serves as director of the Virginia Poison Center, operated by VCU Health. Rose shared important tips for parents on National Poison Prevention Week, which is recognized during the third week of March.
First, he urged parents not to panic if they believed their child ingested or was exposed to a poison.
Rose said the poison center professionals can let a caller know if an exposure is serious enough to warrant a visit to the emergency room. Approximately 85% to 95% of children exposed to a poison can be treated at home. A smaller number are admitted to the hospital.
Most importantly, he said, keep medications locked up, out of sight and out of reach.
“Always keep medications in the original containers with a sealed cap,” Rose explained. “A child resistance cap is tough for old people to open and tough for young people. But it’s not child proof. All it does is delay a child from getting into it and doesn’t prevent it.”
Absolutely do not give your child a bottle of pills to play with. Rose said that advice may seem like common sense, but he’s witnessed a child become injured while playing with a half-filled bottle of pills.
Never treat medicine as candy to entice children to take it.
Rose also advised adults to ingest all medication out of sight of children, so they don’t have the urge to mimic their parents.
Pay attention to the packaging of food items compared to household cleaners and possible intoxicants. For example, Rose said a green bottle of Parmesan cheese closely resembles a green bottle of Comet bleach cleaner.
The Virginia Poison Center can be reached at 1-800-222-1222 and through their website.