Prescription medications are meant only for the person whose name is on the bottle. Unfortunately, all too often, other individuals get their hands on prescription medications and abuse them. This is particularly common in households with many people or where guests come and go on a regular basis. During family visits, older adults sometimes unwittingly provide people suffering from addiction with access to their prescription medicines.
While many prescription medications may be innocuous, plenty of prescriptions can cause significant harm, such as opioid painkillers. However, even medications that are not addictive can cause serious problems, particularly if a child gets ahold of them and thinks they are candy. These tips for safeguarding your prescription medications will help ensure peace of mind and medication safety.
Keep Prescription Drugs Secured
Often, the first experience that many people have with painkillers comes from prescription medications. Sometimes these prescriptions belong to the person who later becomes addicted. However, they can also be medications of friends and family members that the person has access to. We strongly recommend that you keep all prescription drugs, particularly painkillers and other controlled substances, secured in a locked environment, if anybody other than you may be able to access them.
If you are going on a trip and staying in somebody else’s home, you should quietly ask your host or another trusted adult to keep your prescription medications in a secure place. Purses and suitcases are not a safe place to store powerful prescription medications. These are often the first places that a person suffering from addiction will look.
Keep Track of Your Medications Regularly
If you have opioids, painkillers, or other controlled substances in a prescription form, you should keep track of them on a regular basis. Each week, count the number of pills in the bottle and ensure that the correct number has been taken during the previous week. If the count is off, this could indicate that someone has been stealing the medications.
Get Rid of Old or Unused Medicines
If you have any old, expired, or unused medications in your household, you should dispose of them in an appropriate manner. Please note that you should not flush medications down the toilet. Rather, the ideal way to dispose of these medications is by participating in a safe drug disposal program. Often, local pharmacies or even local fire and police departments allow you to drop off unused medications so that they can dispose of them properly. You can find them with a quick web search for safe drug disposal programs in your area.
Teach Children and Guests about Medicine Safety
If you have prescription medications at your residence, you may need to discuss medicine safety before having guests over. This is particularly true if you will have children in your home. Children need to know that they must not touch any medication. Show them what a medicine bottle looks like and stress to them that they should never handle them at all. In an ideal scenario, you will have your prescription medications out of reach of any children and inside of childproof bottles. However, it is not uncommon for some medications to end up outside of a bottle or for a bottle to end up within reach of a child. Make sure that a child knows that, even though medications may look like enticing candy, eating the medication could make them really sick.