-Mayah Taylor, MA
Home medicine cabinets are quickly becoming the new drug dealer. We know that people tend to keep expired and unused medication in their cabinets but the misuse of prescribed medication can have catastrophic consequences. This growing problem not only affects young people but people over all age groups. In order to become proactive with solving this problem, it is helpful to be aware and recognize the signs that you may be misusing your medication, and what you can do to avoid the misuse of medication. According to results from a 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, unused prescription drugs were the most common source of misuse for teens.
If you suspect someone you know is misusing medication or are unsure if you are misusing medication, be aware of any recent changes in behavior. Common things to notice with misuse of medications are:
If you or someone you know are misusing medication, you should speak with your doctor regarding the misuse. You can also reach out to any local addiction specialists if you feel there is abuse with medication occurring. If you are prescribed medication or have over the counter medication in your home, make sure it is stored in a safe and secure place and that no one except you has access to it.
A common thing we see at our practice are, individuals who have access to medication that was not prescribed to them or does not belong to them. To further prevent possible misuse or abuse, count your medications daily to make sure that no one else is using them. Additionally, if you have excess medication and are no longer using it, there are ways to dispose of the medication versus letting it sit in your medication when you no longer need it. One way you can safely dispose of medication is to mix medicines you are not using with an unpalatable substance such as dirt, kitty litter, or used coffee grounds. Next, place the mixture in a sealed bag or container and throw it away in your trash. Be sure to scratch out your name and other personal info on the prescription label of any empty pill bottles or medication packaging before throwing them away as well. When disposing medication into the trash remember to not crush tablets or capsules.
If you have unused or old opioid medication that you need to dispose of, you can go to your local Walmart to obtain an opioid disposal solution. Walmart has recently launched its DisposeRx program where consumers can go to Walmart’s pharmacy and ask for the opioid disposal solution which is a small packet that contains ingredients that when emptied into a pill bottle with warm water, ultimately enable you to responsibly dispose of leftover medications in your trash. So, go ahead and clean out your medicine cabinet. Think of it as Spring cleaning and help keep you and your loved ones safe.
To learn more about drug take-back initiatives, please visit the DEA website.
As always, share your successes and struggles by posting on our various social media sites or by contacting us here!