One in four teens has abused prescription drugs. In 2017, nearly 52,000 children under the age of six were seen in the emergency room for medicine poisoning. Both are fantastic reasons to learn how to lock your medications up!
October 23 is National Lock Your Meds Day, a national campaign designed to bring attention to adults who are becoming unintended suppliers to teens — as well as the possibility of accidents by curious toddlers.
Your medication is designed for you, based on your symptoms, body weight, and other factors. While it may be your lifeline, that same medication can harm another person. According to the SAMHSA 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, in 53 percent of teen drug abuse cases, youth first obtained them not from a drug dealer, but friends or relatives.
What to know about storing medications safely
For Young Children:
- Store your medications high up and out of sight so toddlers cannot reach it and lock the cabinet. Children often find medication in purses, on the nightstand, or counters. Hang purses and bags on hooks out of reach.
- Don’t forget about things that you might think of as medicine that can also cause harm: vitamins, creams, etc.
- Alert babysitters and relatives or other caregivers. Often children find medications in a grandparent’s home or bag.
For Older Children:
- Keep an inventory of your medications, so you know how many you have and how many are left.
- Remove old drugs from your medicine cabinet and dispose of them. Here’s how. DO NOT flush medications down the drain or toilet, unless the label indicates it is safe to do so.
- If your child is on prescribed medication, monitor the dosages and refills. Set clear rules, such as not sharing and always following proper dosages.
- Warn your children and teens that taking prescription or even over-the-counter drugs without a doctor’s supervision can be just as dangerous and potentially lethal as taking street drugs.
- Supervise your child’s Internet use: many pharmacy sites are not regulated and will sell your child medications without prescriptions.
Check out this medication safety checklist with more tips for all ages.