I’ll be honest, I’ve always been a worrier. Even as my kids get older, it’s not at all uncommon for me to take looks at my home and find ways to safeguard the dangers that I see for not only my children but my entire family. I’ve always been this was but it’s become more of a priority as the opioid crisis has risen and there have been more and more cases of children and adults alike not only getting their hands on prescriptions but selling and buying them. Of course I trust my kids and I know that they know the dangers of prescription drugs but as a parent, that does not absolve me from my task of making my home the safest place possible. That’s why, in honor of April 27th 2019 being National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, I’ve been rethinking the way that I look at prescription drugs in my home and coming up with easy ways to keep prescription drugs safe.
Before I share my tips with you (and I highly encourage that you implement them TODAY), I want to share with you that prescription drug abuse is not just something that happens to other people. It happens to “good” families. It happens to well-behaved kids. It happens in the best of homes. In fact, according to DrugAbuse.gov, 18 million people in the United States over the age of 12 have misused or abused medications at least once in the past year (that’s a shockingly high number!). While for some, this is a single incident, I have a high school friend that I’ve fallen out of touch with over the years that got caught up in the grip of prescription drug abuse. She went from a straight A student with all the potential in the world to, at last check, someone who is struggling to put her life back together based on poor decisions that really didn’t seem like that big of a deal when she made them. In addition to that, I hear my son come home on a regular basis and talk about his friends who are taking this or taking that. While some of the substances are illegal, I’m always shocked by how many times the drugs these kids get their hands on are prescriptions that they find in their parent’s or grandparent’s medicine cabinets. With these stories in mind and magazine, newspaper and news stories about the opioid crisis swirling around us, I strongly believe that it’s our responsibility as parents to educate and protect our children, starting with securing our own home. So, how do you do that? Well, I’ve got a simple list of things you can do today to can keep prescription drugs safe from kids. So, read on, get ready to make a few changes and find out how I’m making my home safer for the ones that live in it by being responsible with my prescriptions.
Step 1: Find a Safe and Secure Place to Store Any Medications Your Family Currently Uses
Everyone knows that medications need to be out of the reach of children but truthfully, as I’ve learned more about prescription drug abuse, I’ve come to the conclusion that as parents we should be much more careful not only about the medications we have in our home but where they are stored. Of course when my kids were babies I kept all the medications in high places. What I didn’t realize until recently is that as my children have grown, those places are not quite as secure anymore.
This caused me to do two things. First, I considered where I as storing our medication. Truthfully, if you can’t find a place that is in no way accessable to children or pets, you should consider locked storage. There are tons of lock boxes and options that will allow you more peace-of-mind when it comes to keeping medications secure with kids around. While I’ve rethought where we store our medications and moved them to a location that is more secure with my growing kids, I went a step further because as I was moving my medications to a secure location, I noticed that quite a few were out of date or no longer needed.
Step 2: Go Through All The Prescription (and Non-Prescription) Medications In Your Home to Check Expiration Dates
Just as you go through food, clothing, toys and more to get rid of old or unwanted items, doing the same for your medications on a regular basis is essential. If you’ve followed step one, you already know that your prescriptions are stored in a safe place but really, there is no reason to have outdated or unused prescriptions that can be taken by accident around. In our home, I try to check medications every 3 months, discarding those that are no longer in date and getting rid of any more sensitive prescriptions (like pain medications, opioids, ect) that were not used completely.
For me, this is just extra assurance that I don’t have un-needed medications in my home that could hurt me, the hubs, the kids or even the dog. It literally takes about 10 minutes to do this step and load all my expired and unused medications in to a bag.
When I’ve gong through every medication in my home, I can move on to the most important way that I keep prescriptions drugs safe.
Step 3: Dispose of Expired and No-Longer-Needed Medications with LifeInCheck
With all that I’ve learned about keeping medications safe and secure in my home, of course I would want a secure way to dispose of those medications that we no longer need. Now, if you think you’re disposing of medications correctly, let me ask you a question. Are you one of those people who flushes pills down the toilet, pours them down the drain, throws them in the garbage or perhaps disposes of them in some other no-so-secure way? It’s OK if you are because I’ve been guilty of doing this myself. However, the end result of these actions can be damage to the environment, drug diversion or even the drugs being abused by others. So, what’s a responsible parent to do with those medications that are expired or no longer needed? The answer is simply trust LifeInCheck. Knowing that a better solution was needed for disposal of expired and unwanted medications and to assist in the massive opioid crisis that is hurting many families, LifeInCheck created a Consumer Drug Take-Back program that provides people like me who have a desire to keep their family safe and dispose of medications in the proper way with a safe option to discard their expired or unused prescription (and over-the-counter) medications in one of many secure receptacles located across the United States. So how does it work? Lucky for you, I tested the LifeInCheck Consumer Drug Take-Back Program out so that I could show you how easy it is to safely and effectively dispose of unwanted medications. Here’s how it works:
Find a LifeInCheck Consumer Drug Take-Back receptacle near you.
To start, you’re going to want to find a LifeInCheck Consumer Drug Take-Back receptacle. To do this, simply click here, enter your city and state or zip code and your search radius. Your local safe drug take-back locations will pop up on the screen.
Head to Your Closest LifeInCheck Consumer Drug Take-Back receptacle.
Grab those expired and unused medications that you gathered in step two and head to your local LifeInCheck Consumer Drug Take-Back receptacle.
Dispose of your expired and unwanted medications.
Once you reach your location, head in the store and look for the LifeInCheck Consumer Drug Take-Back receptacle. It’s gonna look like this and it was so easy for us to find (ours was right next to the pharmacy counter).
The LifeInCheck Consumer Drug Take-Back receptacle that I visited at HealthRidge Pharmacy was provided through a collaboration between Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina and Mutual Drug. Once I had located it, all that was left to do was safely dispose of the medications I had brought with me. To do this, I pulled open the drawer and placed my medications inside (with a little help from my little guy of course).
Once we closed the drawer, our medications were safely deposited into the LifeInCheck Consumer Drug Take-Back receptacle where they will later be properly disposed of! Easy, right? And that was it! In just minutes I had safely and securely disposed on expired and unwanted medications and helped to make my home a safer place.
Now, my home is safe and secure and I know without a doubt that the medications within my home are secured and those that I no longer needed are disposed of. I don’t have to worry that my kids will get their hands on something they shouldn’t by mistake and I don’t have to constantly think about medications that shouldn’t be in my home any longer. So now it’s your turn. I challenge you to act today to secure the medications in your home and dispose of those that are expired or that you no longer need. To start, click here to use the LifeInCheck Drug Disposal Search Tool and find a LifeInCheck Consumer Drug Take-Back receptacle near you. Then follow my easy ways to keep prescription drugs safe and make sure you do step three and dispose of your medications in the most responsible way.
Now tell me, has prescription drug abuse and the opioid crisis effected anyone you know? How does that motivate you to keep your own medications safe and secure in your home?