Sixty-seven percent of people who misuse prescription medications get them from friends and family. Here are a five steps that you can take to prevent prescription drug misuse or abuse:
1. Talk with your doctor about your meds. Confirm with your doctor that the dose and quantity of your medication, and the medications of your children, is the lowest safe and effective dose possible. Ask about other options to the most commonly abused medications. Talking to your doctor is not always easy; click here for questions to ask your doctor that can help you learn about your medication and treatment alternatives.
2. Properly secure and monitor your meds. Only 5% of children who misuse prescription medications say they get them from a stranger, a drug dealer or the internet. Prevent your child, friend or loved one from abusing your medications by securing them so they cannot be accessed. They can be secured in a medication lockbox, locked cabinet, locked closet, or out of reach. Further safeguard all medicines that have to remain at home by monitoring quantities. Regularly check to see if anything is missing. Click here for a home medicine inventory card that can help you keep track of your medications.
3. Safely and properly Dispose of old, expired or unused meds. Prevent your child, friend or loved one from abusing your medications by disposing of them through a permanent drop box in your community or by mixing them with an inedible substance such as kitty litter or coffee grounds and tossing them into the trash. NEVER flush your medications down the drain or toilet, unless the label says it is safe to do so. Learn more about safe disposal and find a drop box in your community.
4. Educate yourself & your Family. Learn about the most commonly abused types of prescription medications and their associated signs and symptoms. Then, communicate the dangers to your child, friends or loved ones regularly; once is not enough. Make time to talk and create an environment where your child, friend or loved one feels safe to talk to you about questions and/or concerns they have about Rx drug misuse and abuse. Be observant of their actions, behaviors, and mood. Click here for more info on commonly abused prescription medications and their signs and symptoms.
5. Pass it on. Share your knowledge and support with friends, family and others. Together, you can create a tipping point for change.