When medicines in the home are not secured properly, they are a risk to everyone. Overdose from accidental poisoning is possible in the case of many medications, including opiates. Medicine cabinets across the nation are filled with half full bottles of pills that could potentially harm children or pets.
Worse, people using prescription meds recreationally may be stealing leftover pills you have without you knowing! There is a misconception among many people, especially teens, that prescription medications are safer to use and abuse because a doctor prescribes them. The reality is, when they are abused, prescription and over-the-counter medications are every bit as dangerous as illegal street drugs
Safely Storing Prescription Drugs Is Everyone’s Responsibility To Avoid Risks
It’s important to keep track of all medications, read instructions for use carefully and keep all medications out of reach of children and pets. In the wrong hands, certain drugs can be deadly. Unused medications should be properly disposed of. Most towns have some sort of prescription drop off site for this purpose.
A cabinet may not be the safest place for your medications. Safes and lockboxes are the only truly secure options. It’s also important to keep track of medication by counting pills and storing everyone’s medications separately in order to avoid confusion and the risk for taking the wrong pills.
Keeping medication in its original container allows patients to reference critical drug information such as dosing instructions, side effects, expiration dates and pharmacy contacts.
Specific Examples Of Risky Medication Include Opiates, Benzodiazepines And DXM
Prescription painkillers such as opiates, and anti-anxiety medications such as benzodiazepines come with very serious side effects especially if taken by someone who’s not used to taking them. These drugs, specifically, can be habit forming, which presents another risk. Experimenting with others’ meds without knowing the strength or what it could do to you is a recipe for disaster.
Over the counter medications pose a threat as well. Certain antihistamines and cough medicines can be very dangerous if taken in large quantities. Cough medicines containing dextromethorphan (DXM) have become a drug of choice among abusers. There are Internet websites detailing information about how to abuse DXM, explaining what to combine it with to achieve a greater high and how to extract it from cough medicines. There is even a powder form of DXM sold for snorting.
Medication is necessary and can provide relief from illness and pain. However, it’s essential to be aware of the potential harm it can cause others and to make sure all meds are stored properly. Take a few minutes today to assess your medicine cabinet and see if your meds are secure.