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National Community Pharmacists Association And Purdue Pharma Urge Americans To Safeguard Rx Medicines This Holiday Season

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Dec. 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- During the busy holiday celebrations and social gatherings Americans will welcome many visitors in their homes...and some into their medicine cabinet. Unused and easily accessible medicines have the potential to be misused and abused by anyone entering the home – including teens and young adults. Seventy percent of people age 12 and older who abused prescription pain relievers say they got them from a friend or relative. 1

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The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) and Purdue Pharma L.P. are working together to remind parents, grandparents, and other family members about simple – yet important – steps that can be taken to protect prescription medicines this holiday season through their national educational initiative, Safeguard My Meds.

"As a pharmacist and mother, I understand how critical it is to keep prescription medicines from falling into the wrong hands," said Michele Belcher R.Ph, third vice president of the National Community Pharmacists Association. "Every day more than 2,500 teenagers abuse prescription medication for the first time. Proper storage and disposal of prescription medicines in the home can play a vital role in preventing misuse and abuse." 2 

A national survey showed an overwhelming majority of Americans (94%) understand it is extremely or very important to safely store and dispose of prescription medicine, however, many aren't doing enough to protect their medicines: 3
  • More than two-thirds (68%) indicated they keep prescription medicine in an unlocked cabinet, closet or drawer in their household.
  • Respondents most frequently said they store prescription medicine in the bathroom (53%) and kitchen (49%) – two potentially vulnerable, high-traffic areas.

Belcher points out that there are several easy steps that can be taken to protect prescription medicines, including:
  • Use a locked storage container to store prescription medicines at greater risk of being abused – pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants and depressants. These medicines are targets for theft by anyone who enters your home, so extra precautions should be taken.
  • Keep track of medications with the Medicine Inventory Sheet – one is available on
  • Take inventory of prescription medicines at least twice a year, such as when you change your clocks in the spring and fall.

Go to to access additional information on safe medicine storage through downloadable print, video, and online materials. Visitors are also encouraged to take the Personal Responsibility Pledge and make a commitment to safeguard their prescription medicine.

About the SurveyThe survey was conducted by Opinion Research Corporation – Infogroup/ORC, a national research firm on behalf of the National Community Pharmacists Association and Purdue Pharma to assess knowledge and behavior about prescription medicine safety and disposal. Telephone interviews among a projectable national sample of 1,010 adults, including 503 men and 507 women 18 years of age and older, living in private households in the continental United States, were conducted between August 27-30, 2010. The margin of error for results based on the entire sample of 1,010 is plus or minus three percentage points.

About the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) NCPA represents the interests of America's community pharmacists, including the owners of more than 23,000 independent community pharmacies. Together they represent a $93 billion health care marketplace, dispense nearly 40% of all retail prescriptions, and employ more than 315,000 people, including 62,400 pharmacists. Independent community pharmacists are readily accessible medication experts who can help lower health care spending. To learn more go to or read NCPA's blog, The Dose, at

About Purdue Pharma L.P. Purdue Pharma and its associated U.S. companies are privately-held pharmaceutical companies known for pioneering research on persistent pain. Headquartered in Stamford, CT, Purdue Pharma is engaged in the research, development, production, and distribution of both prescription and over-the-counter medicine and hospital products. Additional information about Purdue can be found at
  1. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Office of Applied Studies, National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 2008.
  2. Office of National Drug Control Policy, Prescription for Danger, Jan. 2008
  3. Safeguard My Meds survey data set. 2010.


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