Teen medicine abuse is an epidemic. That’s not our declaration; it’s that of the CDC, who doesn’t throw the term “epidemic” around loosely. It’s no secret that this behavior is a problem (and a devastating one); what is sometimes confusing, though, is what you can do in your own home to prevent the behavior and protect your family.
At the Partnership, we know that kids and adults who intend to abuse are not only accessing medicine from their own homes, but they seek it at the homes of their friends’ parents; their grandparents; and others. Safeguarding and properly disposing of the medicine you keep at home is an action that everyone should take – regardless of whether or not you believe your teen or family is at risk.
So, how do you deal with those unwanted, expired or unused medicines in your home? Here are some simple steps to help clear up the confusion.
- The best and safest way to dispose of unwanted medicine is by finding a take-back location near you. The American Medicine Chest Challenge features a national directory of permanent prescription collection sites in every state across the country, so you can learn where to take your meds year round. The DEA also hosts national take-back days a few times per year. Either of these options are ideal ways of disposing of your medicine.
- If you can’t get to a take-back location and must dispose of your meds at home, it is best to crush them up and mix them with an undesirable substance – like coffee grounds or kitty litter – and throw the mixture in the trash. This makes pills less appealing and less recognizable to anyone who can see your trash – including your teens. Note: flushing your medicine is not advised and is dangerous, as it contaminates water and causes an environmental hazard.
Finally, but perhaps most importantly, talk to your kids and family about the dangers of abusing medicine. For more information on how you can help #EndMedicineAbuse at home and in your community, visit our Medicine Abuse Project website.
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