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Prescriptions and over-the-counter remedies we rely on can be dangerous to others, and not just to children. It is true that about 60,000 young children are taken to the emergency room each year because they got into medicines left within easy reach. Unfortunately, older kids and teens often experiment with drugs they find in someone else’s medicine cabinet.
A surprising number of heroin users started abusing drugs by taking opioid pain killers stolen from a family member. In fact, drug addiction crosses all age groups, and it often starts with prescription medicines.
Here are six ways to safeguard your prescription drugs — and your loved ones:
1. Keep all medicines and over-the-counter items — especially cough syrup, sleep aids and motion sickness medicine — locked up, or move them to a place where they won’t be easily found.
2. Sort through all your medicines and get rid of old or unused ones. The label will tell you how to dispose of them. Most medicine should not be flushed because it gets into creeks and rivers. Ask the pharmacy or police department about drug take-back programs for an even safer method of disposal.
3. Keep track of your medicines on a regular basis (weekly), especially opioids or other pain killers, including how many pills you should have.
4. Check around your home for old medicines. Purses, coat pockets, kitchen cupboards, bureau drawers and hall closets are common places to find old medicines.
5. If you take prescriptions with you when staying in someone else’s home, quietly ask your host or another trusted adult to lock them up or find a secure place to store them. Suitcases and purses are not safe places to keep powerful prescriptions.
6. Keep the Poison Help number handy in case of emergencies: (800) 222-1222.
More information on how to avoid becoming an unwitting supplier of prescription medications is available from the Food and Drug Administration.
ProActive Sports Rehab, with offices in Hamburg and West Seneca, offers one-on-one physical therapy and rehabilitation services. For more information, please visit http://proactivesportsrehab.com or call 674-9600 (West Seneca office) or 648-8700 (Hamburg office). You can also follow ProActive Sports Rehab on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ProActiveSportsRehab for frequent updates.