The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that:
- among 12th graders, nearly two in 10 report using prescription medications without a prescription
- about 50,000 young children end up in emergency rooms each year because they got into medicines while an adult wasn’t looking
And according to the National Family Partnership (NFP):
- more than forty-seven percent of the people who misuse prescription medications get them from friends and family members.
These sobering statistics are the reason the NFP created its national “Lock Your Meds” campaign, which seeks to make adults aware of their potential to become “unwitting suppliers” to those who would abuse their prescription medications.
And this month, Informed Families wants to shine a spotlight on this important issue.
Here’s what parents can do to help:
- Talk with your doctor about your medications.
- Do I need this medication?
- Are there less risky alternatives?
- What are the potential risks, benefits, and side effects?
- Properly secure and monitor your medications.
- Lock your meds so they cannot be accessed in a medication lockbox, locked cabinet, or closet.
- Monitor quantities by checking regularly to see if anything is missing.
- Safely and properly dispose of old, expired, or unused medications.
- Find a dropbox in your community.
- Participate in National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day (this year, April 30).
- Educate yourself and your family.
- Learn about the most commonly misused types of medications and their associated signs and symptoms.
- Communicate the dangers to your child regularly; once is not enough.
- Create an environment where your child feels safe to talk to you.
- Be observant of their actions, behaviors, and mood.
- Spread the word.
- Provide facts about substance abuse and the dangers of prescription drugs in the home to friends, schools, and other organizations.
It will take all of us working together to create a tipping point for change. Informed Families has created numerous resources to help parents combat this growing problem. Think of us as your partner in your efforts to raise safe, healthy, and drug-free kids.