Locking up your prescription drugs is recommended by everyone from government agencies to non-profit addiction prevention programs and rehab facilities across the nation. But how effective is a lockbox or combination cap when it comes to preventing drug addiction?
Rx Drugs are Everywhere
As many as 52 million people over the age of 12 have admitted to misusing prescription drugs. One reason that rx drug abuse is so common in our country is that prescription drugs are everywhere.
- The United States alone consumes 75% of the world’s supply of prescription drugs.
- According to the CDC, 48.7% of Americans have been prescribed a drug in the last 30 days.
Prescription drug abuse is a growing epidemic in the U.S. With so many prescriptions easily accessible in homes across America, there is no question as to why more and more teens are experimenting with them every single day.
Teen Prescription Drug Use is on the Rise
Today, more than 2,500 kids tried prescription drugs not meant for them for the very first time. Tomorrow, another 2,500 will do the same. These teens aren’t seeking out a drug dealer to buy these drugs in an illicit exchange in some back alley… they are getting them from an unwitting dealer: the medicine cabinet at home.
Half of teens who abuse prescription drugs are getting them from their parents’ medicine cabinets or through other people’s prescriptions. And more than half say the drugs are easy to obtain because they are “everywhere.”
Medication Storage can help deter Curious Teens
Locking up the prescription drugs in your home makes it less likely that your teen will become another statistic. Removing the ease of access can make it more difficult for that “first-time” experiment to happen.
Even the “best” teens may be tempted to try a prescription pill.
- 50% of teens think prescription drugs are safer than illegal drugs.
- 32% believe prescriptions have fewer side effects than illegal drugs.
- 25% of teens misuse prescriptions as a study-aid.
- Teen girls are more likely to try prescription drugs to lose weight or stay alert.
Even if you don’t think your kids would ever get into your prescription meds, locking them up can help deter them, or their friends, from a single bad decision that could alter their lives forever. And if you do suspect your teen may be using drugs, it is even more important that you take action.
Prescription Drugs are Highly Addictive
The most abused prescription drugs, opioids, stimulants, and sedatives, also happen to be some of the most addictive.
- Opioid pills, such as painkillers like Oxycontin and Vicodin, act on the same brain systems as heroin and morphine.
- Opioid use can lead to tolerance, and a need to increase dosage to get the same effect.
- Opioid abuse is linked to rising rates of heroin abuse.
- Deaths from prescription pain relievers has increased 4x in the past 15 years.
Deterring curious teens from misusing that first prescription pill may be the single act that keeps them off the path of addiction, or worse.
What Locking Medication Storage can’t do
Locking up your meds can go a long way toward deterring your teen, their friends, or anyone else who is in your house from taking your prescription pills. But they are not a solution to addiction.
- Teens can get prescription drugs from friends or other family members.
- Addicts can break locks, destroy prescription bottles, or steal medications.
Locking medication storage is not the answer to addiction. It is a deterrent to drug access, but it is not a treatment.
Prevention Efforts do Work
There is good news. Prevention efforts are effective in reducing prescription drug use. And parents of teens can play a major role in preventing the drug use that can turn into drug addiction.
- Lock up your meds - Don’t be an unintended drug dealer for your teen.
- Talk to your teen - Teens often think prescription drugs are safe. Give them the facts.
- Spread the word - The more people who lock up their meds, the better.
- Know the signs - Watch your teen for the signs of prescription drug use.
- Don’t keep pills - Give back or dispose of pills that are no longer needed.
Locking up your meds, talking to your teen, and encouraging others in your community to participate in safe prescription drug practices can go a long way and help prevent the Rx drug misuse that could one day become addiction.