Blue Ridge Poison Center treating kids less than 12 for attempted suicide
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Parents may be used to locking up prescription medicines to protect their kids, but local health experts say they need to keep track of over-the-counter medications too.
From 2019 to 2021, the rate of suspected suicide attempts by poisoning in people between the ages of 10 and 19 increased by 30 percent nationally.
Dr. Chris Holstege at the Blue Ridge Poison Center said he's especially stunned by the increase in kids ages 10 to 12, which was 73 percent.
He said it used to be extremely rare to see someone that age, but now he's treating them at least once a week.
He said they're using more over-the-counter medications like painkillers and allergy pills.
"Sadly, I have a number of children at the University of Virginia who overdosed in the last couple of days. So, I would say this is a crisis right now in regards to our society. And there's a number of multidisciplinary steps that need to be taken to address this," he said.
Holstege said those steps are locking up all meds in the home, always calling the poison center if there are any suspicions of an overdose, and increasing access to mental health care.