Prescription drug abuse is an epidemic in the United States. Every 19 minutes someone dies from an accidental prescription drug overdose. Prescription drugs can be available over-the-counter or prescribed by a doctor. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), as of 2012, about 5 million adolescents report misusing and/or abusing prescription drugs at least once in their lifetime; 20% of the 5 million abused a prescription drug before the age of 14. A whopping 27% mistakenly believed using prescription drugs were “safer” than the use of illicit drugs.
Jospeh N. DiVincenzo, the Essex County Executive, said “some of the most dangerous substances in your home are the unused prescription and over the counter medication in your bathroom closet. Youth may sneak pills and use them out of curiosity, but there is a real danger that this could lead to more severe drug abuse.”
To ensure the safety of the adolescent community, refer to the following helpful tips to properly monitor, secure, and dispose. Correctly following these suggestions could reduce the risk of prescription medication abuse within your household.
- Take note of all your prescription medication and those of anyone else in your household. This includes counting how many pills are in each of your prescription bottles or pill packets and the amount of liquid medications in your cabinet.
- Make sure your friends and relatives are aware of the risks of abusing prescription and/or over-the-counter medication.
- Take prescription and over-the-counter medications out of the medicine cabinet and hide them in a place only you know about. If possible, lock all your medications in a safe place.
- Tell relatives and friends to lock their medications or keep them in a safe place.
- Take an inventory of all of the prescription medications in your home. Start the process of disposing by putting all your expired and unwanted medication together in a pile.
- Mix medication with an undesirable substance such as coffee grounds or kitty litter. Put this mixture in an empty bag or can to discard.
- Unless directions on the label say otherwise, do not flush down the drain or toilet.
- There is always an option to drop off the medication to the nearest prescription medication drop box. Visit essexadapt.org to find your nearest location.
ADAPT is here to help you talk to your children and make a difference within your home and community. Contact us and request more information or tips on having these discussions. For more information on ADAPT, take a tour of our website or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.
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