by Mary Rains
Mille Lacs Health System
Popular situation-comedy TV shows and movies often make light of the use of prescription pain medication, fostering the “sharing” aspect of taking medication for recreational purposes. But it’s no laughing matter.
Prescription medications are designed to be used for people who have legitimate medical conditions and those medications help them live and function and deal with their conditions. But adults often are oblivious to the fact that kids and others know where these prescriptions are kept. It’s difficult for parents to believe that their children or their kids’ friends may be tapping into those medications to either use themselves or sell.
The Lock Your Meds® campaign is sponsored by the National Family Partnership to combat prescription drug abuse among youth. The target audience for this campaign is 20-80 year-old adults, with the primary focus on keeping prescription and over-the-counter pharmaceuticals away from drug abusers. Many adults may be unwitting suppliers and by making adults aware of the problem communities can curb the abuse by others.
More than 6.5 million teens ages 12 to 17 report abusing prescription drugs. And 66% of people 12 and older who abuse prescription drugs get them from family and friends. Some parents, family friends, or even grandparents can become inadvertent drug pushers by leaving their prescription stimulants, opioids, and depressants where kids can get them. Overdoses occur when users need more and more, and often turn to stronger drugs like heroin to get high.
Mille Lacs Health System urges you to think about doing your part to stem the tide of illegal drug abuse: 1.) Keep a record in your home of what medications you use so you know if any of your meds have been removed by a person other than you. 2.) Secure your meds in a locked place. 3.) Safely dispose of unused or expired meds. 4.) Talk about this subject with family and friends.
Children should grow up drug-free and adults have the responsibility to make that happen. Visit lockyourmeds.org to learn more about what you can do, slang you may hear and think is innocent regarding the procurement and use of medicine, and how to get more involved.