Most homes today have one or more prescription medications and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs in them. Families need to think about where they keep these medications. Would they know if some are missing? Could their teenagers be using these medicines for purposes other than intended? Parents should do the following things to aid in the fight against prescription drug abuse?
Control Access to Medications at Home
Parents need to know how many pills are in a container and how many refills they have left. Teens will access what is easily available to them, particularly when they know their parents aren't watching. If refills are needed more often than expected, this is a cause for concern. In addition, if a liquid medication appears to be disappearing quickly, parents must take note and watch it.
All medications in the home must be monitored, regardless of how they were obtained, as OTC drug abuse is on the rise. Fentanyl affects the body in ways that some OTC and prescription medications do. They relax the person while providing pain relief, so kids will be tempted to try medications at home to experience these effects.
Establish Clear Rules
Ensure kids are using prescription medications exactly as they are prescribed. Pay attention when they are using OTC medications to ensure they do the same. The proper dosage is only part of the equation. Make certain they aren't combining medications, as doing so could be dangerous. If questions arise regarding how a medication should be taken, speak to the family doctor or pharmacist. Model the Appropriate Behavior
Children of all ages mimic their parents. If parents misuse prescription drugs, children will too. Always use medications as directed to reduce the risk of children misusing them.
Dispose of Old Medications
Do not leave old medications lying around. They need to be hidden from children or disposed of properly. Don't assume throwing them in the trash can is enough. A child may take the container out of the trash can, empty it, and return the container to the trash can.
If throwing them away is the only option, mix them with used coffee grounds, cat litter, or another unappealing substance. After doing so, put the container of pills and this substance in an empty can or bag so the child won't see it. This reduces the risk of them finding the container and trying to save the contents.
Many people assume they can simply flush old medications down the toilet or drain. This should never be done, as the medications may make their way into the water supply. Aquatic animals may be harmed, and the medications could end up in the public water system.
Always remove personal information from prescription medications before disposing of the containers. A person might find the container and see this information. They may choose to attempt to enter the home to secure a current prescription and use it for nefarious purposes.
Educate Loved Ones on Medication Safety
Teens spend time with other people. Ensure they do not have access to medications when doing so. Educate loved ones on how to safeguard their prescription medications and over-the-counter products. Know where the kids are going and spend time talking to adults in those homes about medication safety as well. In addition, speak to the school to learn which measures are being taken to keep children safe there.
Over-the-counter drug abuse is on the rise. Prescription medications are also a cause for concern. They can be as harmful as illicit drugs, so parents cannot be too vigilant. Learn more today about how to protect kids from these dangers and take steps to keep them safe from prescription and OTC medicines at home. One can never be too safe when it comes to their loved ones.