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
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." 2A 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.
- 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 www.SafeguardMyMeds.org.
- Take inventory of prescription medicines at least twice a year, such as when you change your clocks in the spring and fall.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Office of Applied Studies, National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 2008.
- Office of National Drug Control Policy, Prescription for Danger, Jan. 2008
- Safeguard My Meds survey data set. 2010.