Thursday, April 26, 2012

Help Prevent Prescription Drug Abuse: Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet

Update (5.2.12):
Click here to read an article about how Americans are changing the way they dispose of prescription drugs.

Prescription and over-the-counter drugs are among the most commonly abused drugs by high school seniors. Many teens think that abusing prescription drugs like Adderall or Vicodin is safe because they are medications prescribed by doctors.

That’s not true—prescription drugs that are not taken as prescribed can have powerful and dangerous effects on the brain and body. When doctors prescribe medication for a patient, they have taken into account that person’s age, body weight, other health conditions, and other medications or supplements.

 Taking someone else’s prescription, like Adderall, can cause irregular heart beat and seizures; and abusing pain medicine like Vicodin can restrict breathing. Prescription pain relievers, stimulants, and antidepressants can all have serious side effects if abused—that is, taken in ways or for a reason or by a person not intended by the prescription.

How Teens Find Prescription Drugs To Abuse
In the 2011 Monitoring the Future study, high school seniors reported that they got most of the prescription drugs they abused from friends and relatives, sometimes without their knowledge. It’s important for families to keep their prescription drugs in a secure place—and remove any expired, unwanted, or unused medications, so that your friends and younger siblings (and even pets) cannot get hold of them.
Most drugs can be thrown out in the household trash, but your parents should take certain precautions before doing that. Here are a few tips from the Food and Drug Administration for disposing of over-the-counter and prescription medications.
  • Read the Label
Follow all disposal instructions on the drug label or patient information that comes with the medication.
  • Find a Medicine Take-Back Program
Medicine take-back programs will safely dispose of medication for you. The next National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is scheduled to take place this Saturday, April 28 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the State Police Department on State Road 43 in West Lafayette. In addition, the West Lafayette Police Department conducts monthly prescription drug drop-offs on the second Thursday of each month from 11:30 to 1:30.
  • Seal it Up and Throw it Away
If no instructions are available on the drug label and your community doesn’t have a medication take-back program, you can throw away prescription drugs in your household trash. Follow these three simple steps:
1.  Mix medicine—do NOT crush it—with something gross, like used kitty litter or coffee grounds.
2.  Place the mixture in a closed container, such as a sealed plastic bag, to prevent leaking.
3.  Put the container in the trash.

This article taken from NIDA's Sera Bellum blog.

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