If used moderately and as directed, prescription medicines help ease many health conditions and cure others.
But some people don’t know the risks of keeping medications unsecured in the home, especially medications that have a high potential to be abused, such as stimulants, tranquilizers and pain relievers. Easy-to-find medicines can be abused by anyone entering a home, especially teens and young adults. Catherine Hicks, 7th Heaven star and parent advocate, is working with Safeguard My Meds to teach Americans what they can do to help prevent prescription medicine abuse and potential addiction.
Government statistics show that 70 percent of people age 12 and older who abused prescription pain relievers say they got them from a friend or relative.
“As the parent of a teenager, I know how important this issue is. Every day, more than 2,500 teenagers abuse prescription medicine for the first time, and they don’t even need to leave the house to do it,” says Hicks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that 20 percent of teens have taken prescription drugs without a doctor’s order. Hicks says certain simple steps can make a huge difference:
Keep medication in a locked container out of reach of visitors, children and pets;
Keep a list of medicines at home;
Never share prescription drugs with anyone or mix them;
Talk to your local pharmacists about the best way to store and get rid of old medicines;
Tell friends and family to keep their medications secure.
“When we keep prescription medicine in our homes, we need to keep those medicines safe,” says Keith Hodges, pharmacist and executive committee member of the National Community Pharmacists Association. “We can all make a difference by storing and disposing of our medicine in the right way.”
Safeguard My Meds is a free resource offered by the National Community Pharmacists Association and Purdue Pharma L.P. Vis- it safeguardmymeds.