How You Can Help:
Learn The facts.
Speaking with authority on any subject requires a firm grasp of the facts. The first step in speaking with your kids about prescription drugs is to educate yourself about the drugs that are being abused. Having the ability to present the facts and to respond truthfully to all questions will build credibility, greatly increasing the chances that your child will listen to you and make the right choices.
Communicate the Risks.
Once you’ve learned the facts, the best way to prevent the abuse of prescription drugs among young people is to sit down and talk with them. This might sound like common sense, but surveys indicate that parents who do not communicate the risks of abusing medications to their kids as often as they talk with them about the risks of illegal drugs. Prescription drugs were the leading cause of people seeking help for substance abuse in New Hampshire in 2010. It is also important to emphasize that mixing these medications with alcohol increases their potency, greatly enhancing the risk of death by overdose.
Lock Your Medications.
It is estimated that approximately 70% of the people who misuse prescription drugs get them from friends and relatives. Properly managing your medications is the single most important thing you can do to prevent the illicit use of prescription drugs. If possible, remove your prescription medications from the family medicine cabinet and hide or secure them in a safe place. Even some over-the-counter medications, such as cough syrup containing dextromethorphan, should be secured in a safe location. Talk with aunts, uncles, grandparents, and the parents of your teen’s friends and encourage them to keep their medications hidden or secured.
Dispose Of Unused Medications.
Prescription drugs that have expired or that you did not use when they were first prescribed should be disposed of. For example, if you had surgery or dental work done and you were given pain pills but only took a few of them, discard the rest. Be careful how you dispose of old medications. Do not flush them down the drain. Dispose of them when your teenagers are not around. Since some teens will look in the trash for discarded medications, mix the pills with something unpleasant, such as coffee grounds, and then discard them. Also be sure to remove the labels from the prescription bottles or packaging before you discard them to prevent unauthorized refills or identity theft. Many communities are now sponsoring medication disposal events where people can safely dispose of unused or expired medications. Contact your local police department for times and locations. Click the image above to view FDA recommendations for proper disposal.
Copyright: The ROAD Foundation 2017
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