The dangers of prescription drugs should be no shock to you, so locking up your medicine cabinet might be in the best interest of your family.
There has been a rise in prescription drug abuse among teenagers. They are just as dangerous as “street” drugs and can lead to addiction. Combining the drugs, which young people may not consider a danger, can have harmful effects. More and more teens are making trips to the emergency room due to accidental overdoses of pain pills such as Vicodin, OxyContin and stimulants like Ritalin and Adderall.
Other types of drugs such as muscle relaxers, antidepressants and diet pills are also abused by teens who may be getting them from their parent’s bathroom.
Sleep aids should also be a concern. Teens may take them once to experiment but then may become dependent on them even when they didn’t have problems with sleeping before.
Children should also be shielded from drugs in the home. While they may be too young to understand what they’re doing, they can accidentally take pills because they are colorful or they want to imitate what you do.
According to a report from Safe Kids Worldwide, an organization dedicated to preventing injury and harm to children, 95 percent of medication-related poisonings are because a child ate something when their parents or caregivers weren’t watching. The report notes that kids go to the ER 165 times a year because of these incidents.
Medications that may appear harmless but can cause life threatening reactions include NSAIDs like Celebrex, cholesterol medicines such as Crestor or Lipitor, smoking cessation pills like Chantex, and even birth control pills such as Yasmin.
Grandparents should also take precautions. Their medicines can cause problems for someone who takes a medicine he or she wasn’t prescribed. For instance, many osteoporosis medicines can cause allergic reactions. Brand names of these drugs include Actonel, Bonvia and Fosamax. Several diabetes medications such as Metformin can cause seizures and even death if a non-diabetic takes it.
Don’t forget over-the-counter (OTC) medications. They can be harmful in large doses, but for a child, even one pill can be deadly. Be sure to take stock of OTC pain relievers, and cold, cough and allergy medicines. Camphor, the ingredient in Vicks Vapo-Rub and some chapsticks, can be harmful if it’s ingested.
Vitamins can also be harmful, so treat them as you would any other drug. If your child takes a multivitamin, explain to them the importance of following the recommended dosage so they won’t be tempted to sneak more when you’re not around.
Protect your children and grandchildren by storing all medicines out of sight. Kids like new things and may be intrigued by a colorful bottle. Don’t keep your medicines in a bathroom used by the whole house and/or guests where anyone can access the cabinet. Make sure caps are childproof. Never leave an open bottle unattended. If you keep your pills in your purse, keep your handbag in a safe place away form little hands.
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