(NewsUSA) – When used the right way, prescription medicine helps many health conditions. But many people don’t know the risks of keeping medications unsecured in the home, especially medications that have a high potential to be abused, such as stimulants, tranquilizers and pain relievers.
Left-over and easy-to-find medicines can be abused by anyone entering a home — including teens and young adults. 7th Heaven star and parent advocate Catherine Hicks is working with the national campaign Safeguard My Meds to tell Americans how they can help prevent prescription medicine abuse by keeping medications safe in their home.
Government statistics show that 70 percent of people age 12 and older who abused prescription pain relievers say they got them from a friend or relative.
“As the parent of a teenager, I know how important this issue is. Every day, more than 2,500 teenagers abuse prescription medicine for the first time, and they don’t even need to leave the house to do it,” says Hicks.
A new national survey shows that Americans most frequently said they store prescription medicine in the bathroom and kitchen — two areas where medications could be easily found by anyone entering the home.
Hicks says taking these simple steps can make a big difference:
* Keep medication in a locked storage container in a cool, dry place out of the reach of visitors, children and pets;
* Keep a list of medicines in your home;
* Never share prescription medicine with anyone else;
* Talk to your community pharmacists about the best way to store and get rid of medicine no longer needed;
* Visit the site www.safeguardmymeds.org for more tips and tools to make your home medication safe; and
* Tell friends and family to keep their medications safe.
“When we keep prescription medicine in our homes, we need to keep those medicines safe, said Keith Hodges, pharmacist and executive committee member of the National Community Pharmacists Association. “We can all make a difference by storing and disposing of our medicine in the right way.”
Safeguard My Meds is a free resource offered by the National Community Pharmacists Association and Purdue Pharma L.P. Visit www.safeguardmymeds.org.