Recent research and statistics on drug use show that in the United State alone, 52 million people over the age of 12 have used prescription drugs for non-medical purposes in their lifetime. The same statistics show that 6.1 million people have used drugs non-medically in the past month. And in 2010, enough prescription painkillers were prescribed to medicate every American adult, every four hours for one month.
The statistics alone are enough to make us stop and think about how we use drugs and the consequences of abusing or misusing drugs. It’s never too late to take precautions. You can still save others’ lives and your own. One of the first essential steps is knowing how to avoid totally becoming a part of those statistics. Here are helpful tips to prevent prescription drug abuse at home.
Spend time with your loved ones | This is a simple tip but also a very powerful one. Psychological studies have shown that people who spend more time with their loved ones are less likely to abuse addictive substances like prescription drugs or alcohol. Spend more time with people you trust and are comfortable with. It can be your parents, your siblings, your good friends or some close relatives.
Keep drugs out of reach | Home is where teenage drug abuse usually begins. It is important to make sure that your medications are stored in a secure, preferably locked place where children and other people in the house cannot reach or access. Also, request for child-resistant caps when you visit your pharmacist.
Research extensively on the drugs | This is not at all an exaggeration. Most people just accept a prescription, march to the nearest pharmacy, buy their meds and put it in their mouths, almost mindlessly. Doctors will tell you what drugs to buy, but it is up to you to find out more important information about the drugs you’ve been prescribed. What are the side effects? Are there any contraindications I should be aware of? In case of overdose, how serious are the consequences of this particular drug I am about to take for a whole month? This series of sample questions are extremely beneficial. Research. Find out more about your meds. You can never go wrong with awareness and knowledge.
Avoid saving drugs for later use | A lot of us do this, but it boils down to weather or not the drugs you are saving for “next time” are highly addicting or not. There are drugs that you have to immediately toss into the trash can right after your condition has been treated and when your doctor tells you to do so. Keeping extra medication for future use is really a subtle recipe for what could be a serious disaster.
Remind yourself and others | Remind yourself and others in the household that drugs are there to help you with your medical needs, and that these drugs are prescribed for particular purposes specific for a particular person. It’s never too late to share your knowledge about the consequences of drug abuse to your loved ones.