Safeguarding prescription drugs can help to stop abuse

When people hear about drug abuse, the image many conjure up is of back alley deals, skid row streets, and little baggies full of white powder. While those images are real, the new drug of choice is being handed out as freely as aspirin.

Prescription drugs are being abused now in a variety of ways and the reality is that they typically are not being bought in a street corner drug deal.

Most people are getting illegal prescription drugs from friends or relatives. In fact 70 percent of people age 12 and older who abuse prescription drugs get them from family or friends.

Prescription drugs are found in nearly every U.S. household.

They are important medicines that can help a variety of medical conditions that range from the very short-term to debilitating chronic diseases. The benefits they can provide the people who use them properly and legally are immense.

However, there is a certain responsibility that comes with having prescription drugs in the house that many people do not understand.
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Every time a prescription drug comes into a home there are three simple rules that should be followed. These rules can help reduce the risk of someone who has access to one’s home or medicine cabinet from misusing or abusing prescription drugs.

The three rules are as follows:

1. Take the medicine as prescribed by doctors.

Do not take more than prescribed or “share” them with anyone at any time. It is also smart to ask the pharmacist if the drug being prescribed has a potential for abuse.

2. Store all medicines safely.

This means keep them out of reach of young children. It also means they need to kept away, under lock and key if necessary, from older children and even visiting friends and family.

Be aware that heat, humidity or extreme changes in temperature can damage some medicine. And be sure to keep medicine in its original container as that bottle has important information about the medicine on it.

3. Dispose of all medicines safely.

Do not just throw a medicine container in the garbage.

Talk to a pharmacist about safe ways to dispose of unwanted, expired or unused medicine.

Knowing how to properly use, store, and dispose of prescription drugs can do a lot to reduce the amount of prescription drug abuse that is rampant across the United States right now.