Frederick Ryan, Chief of Police
112 Mystic St.
Arlington, MA 02474
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, May 31, 2016
Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Arlington Police Urge Safety with Recovery Medication After 2-Year-Old Accidentally Ingests Suboxone
ARLINGTON — Chief Frederick Ryan and the Arlington Police Department are urging family members of those in recovery to be extremely careful with medications designed to assist those suffering from addiction after a 2-year-old accidentally ingested the medication-assisted treatment drug Suboxone, which is used to help those addicted to opioids.
On Tuesday, May 31, shortly before 10 a.m., the Arlington Police Department responded to a home after a resident reported that he was playing with his daughter when he noticed that she was holding the top portion of a Suboxone package in her hand. The parents reported that the child also appeared to be drowsy.
The 2-year-old girl was taken by Armstrong Ambulance to Winchester Hospital for treatment.
The Suboxone belonged to another resident of the home.
Suboxone, Bunavail, Zubsolv, and other products are brand names for Buprenorphine, which is used in medication-assisted treatment to help people reduce or quit their use of heroin or other opioid, such as pain relievers like Percocet a Oxycontin, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
When taken as prescribed, buprenorphine is safe and effective, and is much easier to dispense than products like methadone, according to SAMHSA. Unlike methadone treatment, which must be performed in a highly structured clinic, buprenorphine is the first medication to treat opioid dependency that is permitted to be prescribed or dispensed in physician offices, significantly increasing treatment access.
When taken by children, buprenorphine products, which mimic some of the effects of opioids, can cause respiratory issues and other complications. According to the journal Pediatrics, accidental ingestion or overdose of Suboxone and other Buprenorphine products by children is less dangerous than if a child took methadone or opioids like morphine, however.
“As more people turn to medication-assisted treatment, we applaud their efforts to recover, but as a public safety agency we want to urge everyone to treat these products like any other prescription drug in the home. That means keeping it stored high and away from where children could accidentally find and ingest it,” Chief Ryan said. “The same basic rules should apply to all prescription drugs in the home, and the entire family needs to be invested and on the same page.”