Just because doctors prescribe medications doesn’t mean that they’re safe. Drug misuse is a huge problem in the U.S. that affects every state. According to a study by Forrester, painkiller abuse has skyrocketed in Texas in the last decade. You may even know someone in your community touched by this epidemic.
The holiday season is often a time when we are visited by family members and friends. But more visitors also means increased vigilance about possible dangers in your home. Here are some simple steps you can take to help insure that people don’t have access to your prescription medications.
- Don’t leave prescription pills in plain sight or in a pocketbook. Count your pills and keep track of them. This is simply being cautious.
- Remove your medications from easy-to-access areas such as under the sink or in the linen closet. It’s a good idea to put them away in medicine cabinets or other containers that are out of the way and can also be locked.
- Do not keep unwanted or expired prescription medications. Your town, or a nearby community, likely has “take-back locations” for disposing of medications in a safe manner. Ask your local police department for guidance.
- Educate yourself about prescription drug abuse and talk with your family about the issue.
There are a number of helpful resources available regarding this public health issue. The Partnership at Drugfree.org (drugfree.org), The Medicine Abuse Project ( medicineabuseproject.org) and the Caron Chit Chat blog (caronchitchat.org).
From our homes to yours – we wish you a safe and happy holiday season and a healthy new year.
By Dr. John Dakin, PhD, MS, LMFT is the Clinical Director at Caron Texas. Visit carontexas.org.