Boy drinks medicine to treat drug addiction, gets poisoned

By Le Phuong   November 21, 2022 | 02:33 am PT
Boy drinks medicine to treat drug addiction, gets poisoned
A 7-year-old boy is hospitalized at the HCMC Children's Hospital No.1 after he mistakenly drank water with his uncle's methadone, which is used for treating drug addiction, November 2022. Photo courtesy of HCMC Children's Hospital No.1
A 7-year-old boy in Ho Chi Minh City has been hospitalized after he mistakenly drank his uncle's cup of water with methadone, a medication used for treating drug addiction.

The boy was taken to HCMC’s Children Hospital No.1 last Saturday when he fell unconscious and stopped breathing after mistakenly drinking the water.

The medicine is effective for 36 hours, requiring the boy to be repeatedly injected with the antidote.

He has since woken up but still relies on a ventilator and the antidote, doctor Pham Van Quang, head of the Department for Intensive Care and Anti-Poison, said Monday.

Methadone is commonly prescribed for the medical treatment of heroin and other opioid dependencies as it helps addicts ease the discomfort when craving drugs.

For a normal person, the medicine is highly poisonous and one can be killed if taking it deliberately.

There are cases in which patients must rely on life support for the rest of their life after the poison damaged their brains.

"In this case, the boy had been taken to the hospital just in time to save his life," the doctor said.

The Ministry of Health last year launched a pilot program to give drug addicts methadone so that they could take it at home on their own in several localities, including HCMC. Before the program, addicts had to attend public medical facilities to take the medicine.

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