Prescription drug abuse among adolescents is steadily on the rise these days, and kids aren’t getting them from shady drug dealers–they’re finding them right in their own homes. Because prescription drugs are legal, many of us are not aware of the fact that they can be just as dangerous as their illegal counterparts. Because they’re so easily obtainable, kids are using prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications to get high or to self-medicate, adding to the growing problem. The good news is that there are several things you can do to secure your prescription drugs to keep them from falling into the wrong hands, starting now. Here’s how.
Dispose of Old Medications
Go through your medicine cabinet and toss out any expired or unused medications. Don’t simply throw them in the garbage, though–remove the pills from the bottles and either crush them or mix them up with other scraps in the garbage so that your kids can’t simply fish them out later when you’re not around. Remove labels from old prescription bottles and tear them up before throwing them away. Information found on the labels can possibly be used to obtain refills–so make sure it’s not visible.
Hide Prescription Drugs in a Safe Place
Don’t keep your prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications in your medicine cabinet anymore. Instead, find a safe hiding place within your home to store them–somewhere unpredictable that your kids won’t think to look. Many women keep medications in their purses, and while this is a convenient place to keep them, bear in mind that it’s also a convenient place for kids to search. Find good hiding places for your prescription drugs, and change it up every so often just in case those places have been discovered.
Do Regular Pill Counts
The labels on your pill bottles will tell you exactly how many pills are in there, so be aware of the number. Don’t wait until you suspect there’s a problem to start keeping track of what you have. Do quick counts on a regular basis as a preventative measure, steering clear of the attitude that prescription drug abuse can’t or won’t happen to your kids.
Know Who Your Child Hangs Out With
Home isn’t the only easy place for kids to find prescription drugs–the homes of friends and relatives may be sources as well. Get to know the people your child spends time with and don’t be afraid to ask them to implement the same safety precautions in their homes that you have.
Keep the Lines of Communication Open
It’s important to talk to your kids about the risks and dangers of prescription and over-the-counter drug abuse, letting them know that just because these drugs are legal–it doesn’t necessarily make them safe. Keeping the lines of communication open means listening as well, so if your child comes to you with questions or problems they may be having–be a good listener. Being able to talk openly with your children about prescription drug abuse is one of the best ways to prevent it from happening in your family.
Securing your prescription drugs is not only responsible, it’s necessary. Use these tips to make your home a safer place, never underestimating the dangers of prescription drugs abuse and the fact that anybody can become a victim.
Guest post from Casey Lynch.