I kept my Dilaudid pills — what my friend, the homicide detective called “red-neck heroin” — in my purse next to me so no one would go rifling through my medicine cabinet. I had cancer, a house full of construction workers (because hey, we needed more chaos!) and people coming and going. I didn’t want my meds to go with anyone.
But it never occurred to me that the people who might want my pain pills the most could be children.
According to the Partnership for a Drug Free America, prescription medications are the number one drug of choice among kids ages 12 and 13. Two-thirds of teens who abuse prescription painkillers get them family and friends.
Have you counted how many Xanax or post-surgery Vicodin you have left? Go check. I’ll wait.
If you’re sufficiently freaked out, head over to The Medicine Abuse Project, where you’ll learn that prescription pain pills have contributed to more overdose deaths than street drugs like heroin and cocaine.
You’ll also learn how to avoid your meds getting into the wrong hands, mostly by these three steps:
- Monitor: Know how many pills you have, and encourage relatives and friends to do the same.
- Secure: Lock ‘em up.
- Dispose: You can take unused, expired and no longer needed pills to a take-back location. Participate in the American Medicine Chest Challenge on November 10th. Or dispose of certain meds properly (not by flushing them down your toilet) with these instructions.
Don’t assume that the only people interested in your Valium are drug addicts living on the street. Count your pills, lock them up and/or get rid of them today.