We live in a country where the availability of prescription drugs has increased dramatically in our neighborhoods, schools and even in our homes. Both adults and children are susceptible to improperly using prescription drugs, which can be a problem because of the discreet side effects and behaviors that these individuals can hide for months or years, if not seen with a trained eye.
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While the news headlines are dominated by illicit drugs like Cocaine, Meth and Heroin, the sleeping giant of prescription drug abuse has cased more overdose deaths than all of these combined.
Here are 7 important facts about Prescription Drug Abuse:
What is Prescription Drug Abuse?
While most people think that pills inside of little orange bottles are safer when compared to street drugs like cocaine and heroin, it is still illegal and highly risky to use unprescribed drugs. In many cases the effects of prescription drug abuse can result in more addictive characteristics. The availability of prescription drugs tends to make these more easily abused in households with children in middle and high school. However, abuse can happen at any age and you may have experienced borderline abuses yourself if you have engaged in any of the following behaviors:
Most youth prescription drug abuse starts at the home, with children accessing their parents' medicine. In some cases, adults have unknowingly developed addictions to prescription medication like Xanax and Valium because of improper management.
Keeping track of your prescription medicine with the Home Medicine Inventory Card, or HMIC, is a fast and easy way to prevent these occurences. It helps you stay on track, monitors your intake behavior and makes your home safe from accidental consumption or theft in 5 easy steps.
A new year...a new you. While you are considering your New Years resolutions, consider this: Prescription drug abuse is one of the biggest epidemics in the 21st century. Home medicine cabinets are filling up faster than ever, putting young children and teenagers in harm's way. Start the new year off right and resolve to make a difference in your home or community by starting the new year off right with these five tools.
Did you know that more teens and young adults are abusing prescription drugs than street drugs like cocaine and heroine?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have classified prescription drug abuse as an epidemic. While there has been a marked decrease in the use of some illegal drugs like cocaine, data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) show that nearly one-third of people aged 12 and over who used drugs for the first time in 2009 began by using a prescription drug non-medically. (whitehouse.gov)The important thing to realize is that you can do your part to prevent prescription drug abuse among your children and their friends by becoming an Ambassador and doing 4 simple things---educating, monitoring, disposal and enforcement.
There is a plethora of resources regarding this epidemic online and you can find this information by searching, reading and even subscribing to e-mail lists from organizations such as drugabuse.gov, kidshealth.org and whitehouse.gov. Subscribe to the Informed Families prevention newsletter on the sidebar or read our 11 Tips for Talking to our Kids about Drug Abuse.
Paying attention to how many prescription pills you have in your medicine cabinet is essential. You can do this simply by writing in the number in pen on your bottle or using a home medicine inventory card. The key takeaway here is to be actively engaged and conscious of your own prescription drugs so that it does not create an environment of temptation in your household. A great way to keep your prescribed medicine away from prying hands is by locking it up in a locking mechanism such as this pouch.
If your prescription has expired or you no longer need the medicine, you should immediately dispose of the unused drugs. You can find convenient and environmentally responsible disposal programs in your community here or ask your city if they have take back program. The DEA also organizes a National Take Back Day twice a year.
You may unfortunately come across an individual or situation where prescription drugs are being offered or abused. It is imperative that you provide law enforcement with information about if you find a doctor or an adult that is offering prescription drugs to children without a doctor's approval.
What You Can Do Today
You've already accomplished part of the plan by educating yourself on Prescription Drug abuse but now you have to take action by monitoring your pills, dispose your expired medications and inform the authorities if you find someone reinforcing prescription drug abuse. The easiest way to prevent prescription drug abuse is by taking the Lock Your Meds Pledge today by clicking on the red button below!