Prescription drugs can be a safe and effective way of managing or treating certain conditions when carefully monitored and used as prescribed. They have the ability to save lives. However, if misused, they also have the ability to destroy lives. According to the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, “In 2016, approximately 11.5 million people misused prescription pain relievers in the past year.” That doesn’t include other prescription medications that may have been misused as well.
While some people misuse their own prescriptions, once their medication runs out, they may get prescription drugs from friends or family with or without their permission. Teenagers or young adults may seek out the family medicine cabinet for access to these drugs, not realizing the danger it can present.
It is essential for parents to keep prescription medications in a safe place, out of reach of children. Carefully monitor pills as well, keeping track of how many have been taken and how many are left. This can help to identify whether someone may be sneaking medication. Talk to your kids about the danger of misusing medications, not taking them as prescribed, or using someone else’s prescription.
Recognizing Prescription Drug Addiction
Knowing the signs that may indicate someone has a prescription drug addiction can allow you to support them in getting the help they need for recovery. Here are a few red flags to look for:
- Receiving the same or similar prescriptions from multiple doctors
- Attempting to get refills before they should be necessary
- Taking more pills than prescribed
- Stealing prescription medications from others
- Trying to downplay or hide prescription drug use
You may also notice changes in their behavior or health due to drug misuse.
Properly Disposing of Unused Prescription Medications
With many medications, you are supposed to keep taking them until the prescription is finished. However, with drugs such as pain medications, you may only be asked to take them as needed, meaning once you have recovered, you have extra medication left over. Oftentimes people will leave these pills in their medicine cabinet and may even forget they are there. However, this is a prime opportunity for someone to misuse them since no one is paying attention.
So, what should you do with unused medications instead? There are several options:
- Many prescription pain relievers can be safely flushed down the toilet.
- You can also mix the whole pills with kitty litter, dirt, or another unpalatable substance, then seal it in a plastic bag and throw it away.
- Drop off unused medications at a year-round disposal center or at a designated location during National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.
Take Back Day has effectively collected hundreds of tons of prescription drugs (456 tons in 2017!) and kept them out of the wrong hands. All you have to do is take them to a designated location in your area, and they’ll take care of the rest. You can feel more confident knowing they are being properly disposed of and no longer pose a risk in your home.
Seeking Treatment for Prescription Drug Addiction
If you or someone you love is struggling with prescription drug addiction, now is the time to take action and seek help. Addiction treatment centers like Crossroads are trained to support clients in effectively overcoming addiction and developing healthier coping mechanisms, strategies, and routines for lasting recovery. You are not alone, and help is available. Remember who you wanted to be at Crossroads.
[cta]Have you noticed warning signs for prescription drug addiction? Seek treatment today at Crossroads.[/cta]