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Prescription medications can help us live longer and healthier lives, but any medication has the potential to do harm, especially when misused. Ensure medication safety by practicing Safe Use, Safe Storage, and Safe Disposal of your medicines.
Safe Medication Practices
General safe practices
- Only take as prescribed or directed by a healthcare professional or on product labeling. Contact your prescriber or pharmacist if you experience and side effects or allergic reactions
- Do not share prescription medications with anyone as this is illegal.
- Over the Counter (OTC):
- Know the dose
- Read the Drug Facts on the package
- Make sure children know that using OTC medicines incorrectly can cause harm.
- Prescription medications with potential for misuse and abuse
- Opioids (hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine)
- Depressants (Xanax, Valium, Ambien)
- Stimulants (drugs for ADHD: Ritalin, Adderall)
- Risk Factors for overdose and misuse
- Combining prescription opioids, anxiety, or stimulants with each other or with alcohol
- Taking more than prescribed
- Taking illicit or illegal opioids, like heroin or fentanyl, that could contain harmful substances
- Store in a secure place out of reach of others
- Consider a lockbox, medication safe, or other lockable box
- Avoid storage places where children and others can easily access such as drawers, nightstands, kitchen cabinets
- Block out any personal information on prescription containers before disposing of empty container.
- Do not flush medications down the toilet or drain so they do not enter our water supplies
- Dispose of unused medications and do not store for future use. Visitors in your home, including youth, may search medication cabinets for medications to assist in their addiction.
- Use Drug Take Back days or permanent prescription drug disposal locations (www.OhioRxDisposal.com) to dispose of expired or unused medications.
- Over the counter pain medications (ibuprofen, naproxen, acetaminophen)
- Acupuncture or massage
- Applying heat or ice
- Nearly 54% of those who misuse prescription pain relievers get them from family or friends
- 4 out of 5 people who started using heroin in the past year had previously used pain relievers non-medically
- Every day, more than 115 people die from an opioid overdose (including prescription medications and heroin)
- Every day, more than 5,700 Americans misuse a prescription pain reliever for the first time
- Many youth mistakenly think that it is safer to misuse prescription medications than illegal drugs
Tips for Parents
- Talk about medication misuse with your children
- Know the facts about drug abuse
- Kids that learn about drug risks from their parents are nearly 50% less likely to use drugs than other kids
- Don’t just talk; let them ask questions in a 2-way dialogue
- Be involved in your child’s day to day activities and lives
Signs and Symptoms of Abuse:
- Fatigue, red or glazed eyes, and repeated health complaints
- Sudden mood changes, including irritability, negative attitude, personality changes, disrupted sleeping or eating patterns.
- Secretiveness and withdrawing from family
- Hanging out with a different crowd
- Less interest in school and hobbies
- Missing prescription medicines from your medicine cabinet
Signs and Symptoms of Overdose:
- Dilated pupils
- Unsteady walking
- Chest pain
- Severe difficulty breathing, shallow breathing, or complete cessation of breath
- Gurgling sounds that indicate the person’s airway is blocked
- Blue lips or fingers
- Nausea or vomiting
- Abnormally high body temperature
- Violent or aggressive behavior
- Disorientation or confusion
- Convulsions or tremors