Know! To Rx-Proof Your Home and Child
Know! To Rx-Proof Your Home and Your Child
Aside from prescription drug abuse being illegal, it is highly dangerous. Yet 1 in 4 high school students will use a prescription medication for non-medical reasons at least once before graduating. Youth say prescription drugs are easier to get a hold of than a six-pack of beer. So who is supplying our children with prescription meds? We are – 64% of youth report obtaining prescription drugs from home, or from other family members or friends.
Prescription-proofing your home is an essential part of preventing teen Rx drug abuse. Here is the simple, three-step approach in doing so:
- SECURE: All medications, including over-the-counter, should be safely stored in a lock box.
- MONITOR: It is important to know what’s inside that lock box and to regularly monitor its contents.
- DISPOSE: Properly disposing of your unused or expired medication is also vital in preventing prescription misuse and abuse. Click here for proper disposal guidelines from the FDA. And when available, take advantage of local drug take-back programs to safely dispose of medications.
By following the guidelines above, you can prescription-proof your home and you can encourage other family members and friends who come in contact with your child or other children, to do the same.
When it comes to prescription-proofing your son or daughter however, it is definitely more challenging. In fact, aside from a child who is monitored 27/4, no parent can ever say with certainty that their child is not at risk for misusing or abusing prescription drugs, because ultimately, the decision is in your child’s hands.
Parents can, however, increase their child’s chances for making good choices surrounding prescription drugs with these tips:
Know! Why Youth Use Rx Drugs: Most youth say they use Rx drugs to: get high, treat pain, sleep, stay awake, fit in or do better in school. Interestingly, boys are more likely to abuse Rx drugs to get high, while girls tend to use Rx drugs to stay alert or lose weight.
Know! The Common Rx Drugs of Abuse: The most commonly abused drugs by youth include prescription pain medication, anti-anxiety or sleep medication, medication to treat ADHD and over-the-counter cough or cold medicine. Take extra care if you store any of these, or similar types of medications in your home.
Dispel Rx Drug Myths: The majority of youth believe Rx drugs are safer than illicit street drugs, but that is FALSE. Make sure your child is aware that Rx drugs can be just as dangerous, addictive and damaging to one’s developing body and mind, as illicit street drugs.
Communicate Regularly: Talk openly and often about the hazards of Rx drug abuse and be clear about your disapproval of misusing prescription drugs. Ask what your child knows and wants to know on the topic, and if you don’t have the answer, research it together. When your child speaks, listen carefully.
Model Behavior: Practicing what you preach is key. What you do, more than what you say, impacts your child’s future habits and decisions surrounding prescription drugs.
Rx medication abuse remains a significant part of the teen drug problem. You are your child’s first line of defense. Do what you can by eliminating access and availability in your home and by making open and regular communication on the topic of prescription drug abuse a priority.
If you or someone you know is in need of support, call the Treatment Referral Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP or visit www.samhsa.gov/treatment.
For community resources from Cardinal Health’s Generation Rx, visit http://www.cardinalhealth.com/us/en/generationrx
Sources: Cardinal Health: Generation Rx: Prescription Drug Abuse and Your Teens. NIDA for Teens: Drug Facts – Prescription Drugs. Drug Use is Life Abuse: Douglas County Sheriff’s Advisory Council: Drug Proofing Your Home.