Medication Safety Tips For Families

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America has a massive opioid crisis so, with National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day taking place tomorrow, I thought it was important to take some time away from my typical light-hearted posts to talk about this serious issue. Since both my youngest son and I take daily prescription medications we always have medicines in our home. I wanted to share ways that you can keep your loved ones safe, whether you take medications on a regular basis, keep your medicine cabinet stocked with over-the-counter medicines, or only have prescription medications in your home a few times a year.

Keep medications in a lock box and hide medications when you have guests in your home

A medication safe is an inexpensive way to keep medications away from little hands and those that weren’t prescribed the medications. I also hide all medications when I have guests in my home. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, approximately fifty-four million Americans over the age of 12 have used prescription medications for non-medical reasons at least once in their lifetime. 77% of opioid prescription medications taken by new users are obtained from a friend or relative (source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) and 62% of teens who admit to taking medication for non-medical reasons say they get drugs from medicine cabinets in their homes (source: National Survey on Drug Use and Health, SAMHSA). With stats like that, even though the medications are in the lock box, I feel more comfortable knowing the medications are not accessible because you never know what struggles those around you are going through.

Talk to kids about the dangers of misusing medications 

Age-appropriate conversations should be happening on a regular basis whether you have medications in your home or not. I have heard stories in the news about grade school drug scares and prescription misuse so I made sure to talk about this issue with my two tweens. They know that they aren’t to take medicines unless mom or dad okays it, they should never accept any type of medications from others or share their medications with others, and they should always tell me if someone offers them something. We’ve talked to them about the dangers of misusing medications- not to scare them- but to make sure they know how serious the situation can be.

Discard unused or expired medications properly

I think it’s safe to say that most of us have had to figure out what to do with unused or expired medications (whether over-the-counter or prescription). Personally, I had a few bottles of medication that I’d been hanging on to because I didn’t know what to do with them! I didn’t want to flush them down the toilet because it wasn’t good for the environment and I didn’t want to throw them away because I didn’t want the drug being abused by others who may discover them.

I recently learned about a safe option for discarding unused or expired medications that was created in an effort to assist in reducing these issues. LifeInCheck (an amazing program I’ve previously shared about on the blog) created a Drug Disposal program that provides consumers with a safe option to discard their unused or outdated prescription medications in secure receptacles located across the US. You can use the LifeInCheck Drug Disposal Search tool to find a LifeInCheck Drug Disposal location near you by going here and entering your city/state or zip code and search radius.

The receptacles are a discreet and responsible way to dispose of unused or expired prescription medication (including Schedule II-V controlled substances), unused or expired over-the-counter medication, and even pet medications. They are simple to use as well- just pull to open the drawer, place medications inside, and close the drawer to safely discard the medication. It should be noted that the receptacles should not be used to discard of Schedule I controlled substances, Illegal drugs, inhalers, or non-medicine items like thermometers, lotions/liquids, aerosol cans, needles, and hydrogen peroxide.

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is tomorrow, October 27th, 2018, but these LifeInCheck Drug Disposal receptacles are available year-round. Learn more and find a receptacle location here. I’d love your help in getting the word out about this issue so please feel free to share this post with your friends and family. You can also chat with me on social (Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook) or I’m always available via email as well if you prefer to chat off social.