Friday, December 19, 2014

Keeping Friends and Family Safe from Prescription Drug Abuse

What steps can you take to ensure your medications are secure over the holidays when people may be in and out of your home more than usual? Often we keep medications in our bathroom cabinets or purses; the first two places anyone seeking to abuse prescription or over-the-counter medications will look. Being aware of the prevalence of substance abuse may just help you avoid losing medication prescribed to you for your particular need, or from seeing a loved one fall to the grip of addiction. It is not uncommon for numerous anxieties to emerge during the holidays causing individuals to seek relief or escape through pills. Ease of access is something that often draws people to pills when thinking about how to relieve stress. Limiting the easy access to medications in your home can help prevent individuals from starting down a dangerous path toward addiction, where often the  risks are not fully realized at the start.

Know the Prevalence of Prescription Drug Abuse:
Prescription drug abuse is the fastest growing drug problem and most particularly among teens. First, teens often don't realize the dangers, believing that since they were prescribed by a doctor they must be safe. Second, they are easy to get as most homes contain medications in their cabinets. FACE, the Prevention Resource Group states that "Every day 2,500 youth from ages 12 to 17 abuse prescription pain killers for the first time." This isn't just happening among older teens, but FACE also comments that "Prescription drugs are now the drug of choice among 12 and 13 year-olds." 

Keep Your Drugs and Your Family Safe:
While parents should be working to communicate the dangers of prescription drug abuse to their kids and teenagers, there are things everyone can do to help keep teens safe from abusing medication.

Monitor your own medications:
  • Keep track of the number of pills in each of your prescription bottles.
  • Keep track of your medication refills.
  • Encourage your friends and relatives to monitor their medications.                                             
Secure your medications: 
  • Put your medications in a place only you know about.
  • Lock up your medications in a lock box or locked cabinet.
  • Encourage your friends and relatives to do the same.
Dispose of your unused and expired medications:
  • Do not flush medications down the toilet! 
  • Put in plastic zip-lock back, add water and coffee grounds or kitty litter and throw away, OR
  • Drop off at the West Lafayette Police Department (711 W. Navajo Street, West Lafayette) every second Thursday of the month between 11:30am and 1:30pm. 

"In 2010, enough painkillers were prescribed to medicate every American adult 
around the clock for a month." (FACE) 

Don't consider these precautions as acts of suspicion or judgement, but know that acting responsibly with your medications is an act of love toward your family and friends. Please do not hesitate to contact us for a free medication lock box at 765-471-9916.

The Drug-Free Coalition of Tippecanoe County wishes you a happy and safe holiday season!

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