Locking up or securing your prescription drugs could be the single most effective way to prevent accidental poisonings, medicine theft and misuse that could lead to prescription drug addiction. A locking storage option benefits the health and well-being of the entire family – following are 8 reasons why you should consider having a medicine lock box in your home:
1. You Have a Prescription: Prescriptions for opioid painkillers are some of the most abused and addicting medicines available, but that doesn’t mean they are the most dangerous. Any prescription drug – whether its meant for pain, high blood pressure or even arthritis – can be dangerous (and even deadly) if misused. Accidental ingestion by a child or curious experimentation by a teen…any of these could result in poisoning or even death. Locking up prescription medications keeps them out of the hands of small children and teens – reducing the risk of overdose or Rx drug abuse.
2. You Have OTC Meds: Over-the-counter medications used when you have a cough or cold may be just what your teen is abusing to get high. More than half of all OTC cough and cold medications contain dextromethorphan (DXM). At least 1 in every 10 teenagers has reportedly taken medications containing DXM in large amounts to achieve a high. The dangers of DXM taken in high doses can lead to death. Locking up OTC medications reduces the risk of misuse and overdose in your home.
3. You Have Teens or Pre-Teens: Many parents don’t want to believe that their teen would ever misuse or experiment with prescription or OTC medication, but teenage medication abuse is on the rise. Nearly 1 out of every 4 teens admits to misusing or abusing a prescription drug. Teens are heading to the medicine cabinets in their own homes for these medications, thinking (erroneously) that these drugs are safer than illicit street drugs. Even if it’s not your own teen, their friends could be taking a pill or two from an unlocked bottle. Because the teen brain is primed for addiction, this could start them down a long and horrendous road of a lifetime of addictive behavior. Locking up all medications is the #1 thing that parents can do to deter misuse and abuse of medicines in the home.
4. You Have Small Children: Just because a medication has a child proof cap does NOT mean it is safe around small children. Young children and even toddlers have demonstrated the ability to open child-proof caps in a matter of moments – every year more than 800,000 children are rushed to the ER because of an accidental poisoning incident, and nearly all (90%) of child poisonings occur in the home. The only way to prevent a small child in your home from accidental poisoning or fatal overdose is to keep all medications securely locked away and out of sight from curious kids.
5. You Have Grandchildren: Grandparents are naturally more likely to have both prescription and OTC medications in their homes. Often they are kept in medicine cabinets, in purses and even on bedside tables. Do not let a relaxed sense of security take over because no children reside in your home – 100,000 children end up in the ER every year after ingesting medication at a grandparents’ house. Protect your family members by keeping all medications locked up and away from your beloved grandchildren.
6. You Take Vitamins or Supplements: Even innocent looking vitamins and herbal supplements can be a threat to a small child if taken in large doses or incorrectly. Iron, for example, is a common ingredient in multivitamins and iron overdose is one of the leading causes of poisoning in children six years old and younger. When vitamins look, smell or even taste like candy, it can be tempting and easy for a child to ingest dangerous amounts. Keep all vitamins and supplements safely locked away to prevent accidental poisoning.
7. Your Pet Has a Prescription: If you have prescriptions medications for your pet, those drugs pose the same risk for teens and small children who live or visit your home. Accidental ingestion, poisoning and abuse or addiction can come stem from your pet’s medication just as it can from your own. Keep all pet medications securely locked away.
8. You Travel: When you’re away, keeping your medications in a travel lock box can secure your medications (just as you secure your valuables) in your hotel room or wherever you’re staying. Locking up your medications can give you peace of mind and is a great practice for travelers. Secure medications and home AND on the road.
You can easily and effectively prevent the misuse and accidental poisoning, overdose or addiction of prescription or OTC medications in your home by obtaining a medical Lock Box (which you can obtain for FREE from Early Choices’ office!) and keeping all of your medication securely locked away. Take this step to protect your loved ones. Remember, 54% of people who abuse prescription pain relievers obtain them from a friend or relative – always take unused medication to the drug drop boxes. These boxes are located in the lobby of Early County Jail and the sheriff’s office in the Early County Courthouse.