You know to lock your doors at night,
secure your car, and close your garage. But the thought of putting
your medicine cabinet under lock and key might sound ridiculous. It
might even sound a bit inconvenient, especially when you think of
all the pills you’ve got to take day and night, not to mention those
special medicines you were prescribed after surgery, a lingering
cough, or bad fall.
But when you realize that someone in
your own family might be tempted by the pills or cough medicine
you’ve stockpiled and how serious a threat they are when taken by
the wrong person in the wrong dosage, you may want to think twice
about keeping an eagle eye on your prescription medicine. The
reason: someone else may have them in their line of sight--someone
you love and trust, like your own child, grandkid, niece, or nephew.
There’s a growing epidemic of overdoses
among our young people, who view prescription medicine as safer than
street drugs because they are, after all, prescribed by a doctor.
This is a myth, and it’s a myth you should debunk with them once and
for all. That pain reliever, cough suppressant or stress reducer
could actually kill a young person the first time they ingest them
or mix them with alcohol.
A study conducted by the Florida Medical
Examiners Commission found that overdoses caused by legal
prescription drugs were triple the number caused by all illegal
street drugs like cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine, combined. A
few years back, more than 2,000 people in Florida died from
accidental overdoses of prescription painkillers and well over 700
people died from an overdose of anti-anxiety drugs. The number of
deaths from prescription drug overdoses has increased 160 percent in
just five years. And here’s another sobering statistic: the use of
prescription painkillers among high school students is alarming,
with as many as one out of five admitting they’ve used other
people’s prescription drugs to get high.
You don’t want to be the unwitting
supplier of narcotics for kids. There are ways to protect your
Inventory your medicine cabinets,
kitchen cabinets, bureau tops, or anywhere you store medicines. If
necessary, monitor the pill quantities and medicine levels in your
prescription and OTC drug containers. Put drugs away and out of
sight. If you currently need medication, put it in a place where you
can get them easily but where your child or others are unlikely to
look. If drugs in your house are left over from a previous
condition, dispose of them as soon as possible in a safe and
And here’s a good way to safely get rid
of old pills—poor them into a glass cup, soak them in hot water to
dissolve them, and then pour them into some kitty litter in a trash
bag. Wrap it up, put it in the garbage. And don’t forget to shred
You have the power to influence a
child’s decision to use prescription or even over-the-counter drugs
to get high. Information is power and that’s a two-way street.
Educate yourself about the problem and share what you learn with
someone you love and want to keep safe.