Tag Archive | Prescription Drug Abuse

Medicine Cabinets: Your Teens Drug Dealer – Be AWARE

It isn’t street drugs you have to worry about – your kids, teens and tweens can find drugs in your home or a friends home – even more prevalent if a grandparents home.

You know how easy it is to forget about a prescription that you never finished and stored in your medicine cabinet. Proper drug disposal protects your loved ones from misuse. Prescription drugs are the most commonly abused drugs among 12-13 year olds. Many of these pills can be found in your medicine cabinet and around your house. The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy Foundation and their AWARxEConsumer Protection Program are helping to stop this growing!

 April 28 is theDEA National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.  If you have any unused prescription drugs in your home, you can drop them off at the designated collection site in your community on April 28. The DEA coordinates with the local law enforcement and community partners to provide thousands of sites across the country, many of them at police departments, so that the unwanted drugs are disposed of safely and legally. Sites will accept pills, both prescription and nonprescription, for disposal.

I had the opportunity to interview the Executive Director of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, Dr. Catizone on the dangers of Prescription Drug Abuse.  Dr. Catizone is the Executive Director of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) and a licensed pharmacist. He currently serves as a Governor of the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) Board of Directors and Chair of the PTCB Certification Council. Dr. Catizone is regularly called to serve as an expert witness for the US Government in the areas of pharmacy practice and regulation on both the state and national level issues.

Check out my interview with Dr. Catizone below and visit www.AWARERX.ORG for more information on prevention and the April 28 DEA Take-Back Day. Also, don’t forget to like AWARxE on Facebook! www.facebook.com/AWARxE

A)      What are the dangers associated with taking prescription drugs that are not prescribed to you.

Dr. Catizone:   Taking a medication not prescribed for you can lead to serious health consequences, permanent injuries, or death. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that in 2009, 1.2 million emergency department visits were related to the misuse or abuse of prescription drugs. Controlled substance medications have the potential for abuse, and taking these medications if they are not prescribed to you could lead to addiction. Every year, 15,000 people die from an overdose of prescription painkillers, according to the CDC.

B)       What is the best way to prevent teenagers from abusing prescription drugs?

Dr. Catizone:   An important step is to talk with teens about the serious dangers of prescription drug abuse. A video recommended by AWARxE, called The Road to Nowhere, tells the story of a teen who experimented with prescription drugs at a party and became addicted to the drugs. A link to the video is available on the AWARxE Get Local Oklahoma page. Teens can visit AWARErx.org for many other resources.

C)      Are there any other ways to dispose of unused prescription drugs besides DEA prescription drug take-back days?

Dr. Catizone:  Many cities and counties across the country provide permanent medication disposal programs. Many programs provide a drop-box at a police department—these programs can take controlled substance medications for disposal. Other programs are run by hazardous waste disposal agencies or other entities that cannot accept controlled substance medications, but can take all other unused drugs for safe disposal.

Many of the AWARxE Get Local pages have links to local disposal programs, and we are actively expanding these resources. We are happy to take information about local programs and post it on our Web site. Anyone who has information on a disposal program can e-mail the information they have to AWARErx@nabp.net – we will review for inclusion on the respective state’s Get Local page.

If there are no drug disposal sites near you, there are options for disposing of drugs at home. The information that comes with your prescription may provide instructions on home disposal. Only some medications should be flushed down the toilet and the US Food and Drug Administration has a list of these drugs on its Web site. If there are no instructions for disposal you can throw the drugs in your home garbage. But first, take them out of the container and mix them with an undesirable substance like coffee grounds or cat litter.

More details about drug disposal programs are available on the AWARxE Medication Disposal page.

D)      How can you tell if someone is abusing prescription drugs and how can you help them stop?

Dr. Catizone: Side effects associated with prescription drug abuse include dizziness, loss of appetite, unconsciousness, impaired memory, mood swings, loss of motor coordination, trouble breathing and rapid or irregular heartbeat.

Seeking advice and assistance from your family health care provider, such as your doctor is recommended. Your doctor can provide information and/or referrals to local programs that help identify abuse and treat addiction.

If teens are in need of help, a school’s guidance counselor can also be an excellent resource for local information.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration provides an online substance abuse treatment locator and links to resources about addiction and treatment on its Web site.

E )      What can parents do to make sure the prescription drugs they do have in their homes will not be abused by their teenagers?

Dr. Catizone:  Parents should securely store all medications in the household. For example, you may want to lock your medications in a secure cabinet or a medicine safe. In particular, you should securely store controlled substance prescription drugs, such as certain pain medications and ADHD medications.

You may also wish to keep track of the number of pills left in the bottle.

Remember that sometimes prescription drugs are taken out of medicine cabinets by visitors to the home, such as a teen’s guests.

If you have pills or medication that is no longer needed or has expired, dispose of it at an authorized DEA Take-Back location, or a local medication disposal program. The next DEA Take-Back Day is April 28, 2012 and collection sites will be located across the country.

More information about these events, as well as an alternate method for safely disposing of unneeded drugs in the home garbage, is available on the AWARxE Medication Disposal page.

Links for cited Web pages:

·         The Road to Nowhere video: http://www.awarerx.org/State_OK.php

·         Medication Disposal: http://www.awarerx.org/medDisposal.php

·         Get Local: http://www.awarerx.org/getLocal.php

·         FDA Drug Disposal Information: http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/BuyingUsingMedicineSafely/EnsuringSafeUseofMedicine/SafeDisposalofMedicines/ucm186187.htm#MEDICINES

·         SAMHSA online substance abuse treatment locator: http://www.samhsa.gov/treatment/index.aspx

·         SAMHSA links to resources about addiction and treatment: http://www.samhsa.gov/treatment/index.aspx.

Sue Scheff: Prescription Drug Abuse and Teens

Smoking marijuana is unfortunately common amongst many tweens and teens, however just behind that is the use of prescription drug use.  This is a serious problem since many homes are stocked with RX’s – and some parents are in denial that their teen would even consider taking these medications.  Be an educated parent.  Talk to your kids about the dangers of taking prescriptions that are not for them.  Check out Operation Medicine Cabinet.

Source: Connect with Kids

Sharing Prescription Drugs

They’re sort of acting as their own health care providers, and that can really be dangerous.”

– Katherine Lyon Daniel, Ph.D.

What’s the most commonly abused drug by today’s high school students? According to the National Institutes on Drug Abuse, prescription drugs rank second behind marijuana. Abuse is more than buying drugs illegally. Parents should be talking with their kids about the problems of sharing prescribed medications – something that’s more common place in school hallways than one might believe.

Kids share asthma drugs… “I might say here you go and let him borrow it,” says Jaiah Scott, 17, about sharing his inhaler.

They share prescription pain killers… “People at school do that, if they have a headache or something,” says fifteen-year-old Michelle.

Even prescription medications like Accutane… “Like your friend could be oh, you know it helped me, it could help you,” says Jennifer, 18.

Studies report that about 20% of teens have shared their prescription drugs and about one-third who borrowed the medications experienced a negative side effect. Says 17-year-old Ginny, “I think there’s a lot of sharing of medication, prescription medications. It’s kind of come to not be such a big deal.”

But experts warn otherwise. The risks include overdose, allergic reactions, interactions with other prescriptions and a number of other side effects.

“They’re sort of acting as their own health care providers, and that can really be dangerous. You want to help a friend, they have a medication problem — you’re sharing. But this is one time sharing isn’t nice,” says Katherine Lyon Daniel, Ph.D.

With the acne drug Accutane, for example, severe birth defects can result if a teen who is pregnant takes even one dose. Another alarming statistic: 40 percent of adults share their medications. Experts say that while 40 percent of teens surveyed said that they got prescription medications from a friend, 33 percent said a prescription medication came from a family member.

Since children often take their cues from adults, experts say parents should set an example. Don’t share your own drugs and make it clear to your child that sharing medication with friends is dangerous — and that taking someone else’s medicine can be dangerous for you.

“You may think you need that medication, but you’re much better off if you get a medication that’s intended for you and the health problem that you’re experiencing,” adds Dr. Daniel.

Related Information

When teens want medicine to help clear up their acne or a strong painkiller for a headache, an alarming number of them skip the doctor and borrow prescription medication from friends, according to a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Researchers based their study on a survey of approximately 1,500 U.S. boys and girls between the ages of 9 and 18. They found that roughly 19.7% of girls and 13.4% of boys actually borrow or share prescription medicine with both friends and family. Consider these additional findings from the study, published in the journal Pediatrics:

  • About 7% of older teen girls (aged 15-18) reported sharing prescription medication more than three times.
  • Eleven percent of the girls aged 12 to 18 admitted one reason they shared medications is they wanted “something strong for pimples or oily skin.”
  • Nearly two-thirds of those surveyed reported they received prescription medication from a family member.

A survey of 12- to 17-year-olds in the U.S. has found that about 20 percent said they have given their prescription drugs like Oxycontin and Darvocet to friends or obtained drugs the same way, according to a study published online in the Journal of Adolescent Health. Allergy drugs, narcotic pain relievers, antibiotics, acne medications, antidepressants, and anti-anxiety medications were the most commonly shared. About one-third of those who borrowed medications said they had experienced an allergic reaction or other negative side-effects as a result.
Past research has shown that 40 percent of adults also share their medications. “However, prior to our study, no one had asked adolescents how often they shared prescription medications, which meds they shared and what some of the outcomes were,” said lead researcher Richard Goldsworthy of Academic Edge, Inc.

Tips for Parents

According to the CDC study, most of the adolescents surveyed said they actually had their own prescription for the medication they borrowed from friends. They said they borrowed the medication because they either didn’t have the medication with them or they ran out of it. Others said they shared medicine because they “had the same problem as the person who has the medicine.”

What is the harm in sharing prescription drugs? The Nemours Foundation reports that drugs are tools doctors use to fight infection, treat disease and relieve pain. The right drug, however, must be given to the right child, for the right condition, and taken in the right amount and under the right circumstances to work well. Taking another person’s prescribed medication puts a teen at risk for overdose, allergic reactions, hazardous interactions with other medications and dangerous health side effects. In fact, the CDC study reported that many teens share the acne drug Accutane, which can result in severe fetal birth defects if a pregnant teen takes only one dose.

As a parent, it is important to familiarize yourself with the basic elements of a prescription:

  • How much of and how often the medicine should be taken
  • What the side effects and reactions are, if any
  • How the medicine should be taken
  • How the medicine should be stored

If your doctor prescribes medication for your teen, always look at it carefully before you leave the pharmacy. The Nemours Foundation offers these additional questions to ask your pharmacist:

  • Does this medication require special storage conditions (room temperature or refrigeration)?
  • How many times a day should it be given? Should it be given with food? Without food?
  • Should my teen avoid dairy products when taking this medication?
  • Should I look for any special side effects? What should I do if I notice any of these side effects?
  • Should my teen take special precautions, such as avoiding exposure to sunlight, when taking this medication?
  • What should I do if my teen skips a dose?
  • Is it OK to cut pills in half or crush them to mix into foods?
  • Will this medicine conflict with my teen’s alternative treatment of herbal remedies?

To ensure that your teen is using his or her prescription medicine safely, the National Clearinghouse for Drug & Alcohol Information suggests reviewing the following information with your teen and or your physician:

  • Talk with your physician about any other drugs – prescription, over-the-counter or illegal – you are taking. Drugs may interact negatively with one another, causing harmful side effects and even causing medications to be ineffective.
  • Discuss your medical history with your doctor. Side effects caused by some drugs may worsen other health conditions, even if the medication is used properly. For example, some prescription medications may elevate the user’s blood pressure, causing a serious consequence if the user already suffers from high blood pressure.
  • Read the instructions that come with your medication carefully and take the drug exactly as recommended.
  • Do not give your prescription medications to other people, and never take prescription drugs that have not been prescribed to you by a physician.
  • Throw out expired or leftover medicines.

References

Sue Scheff: Your Medicine Cabinet Could Be Your Teen’s Drug Provider

Have you ever considered you may be your child’s drug provider?  Have you ever thought when they visit your parents (their grandparents) your teens may be taking their medications too?  Broward County, Florida offers Operation Medicine Cabinet

According to the United Way Commission on Substance Abuse, prescription drug abuse is skyrocketing. This fact has fed the increasing rates of opiate-related deaths in recent years. In addition, the DEA reports that painkillers now cause more drug overdose deaths than cocaine and heroin combined. Florida teens abuse prescription pain relievers more than any other illicit drugs except marijuana, according to the 2008 Florida Youth Substance Abuse survey.

While illegal drug use among teens is falling, teen prescription drug abuse is on the rise. One in five teens has abused a prescription pain medication, and in Florida prescription drugs have killed 300% more people than illegal drugs.

Operation Medicine Cabinet helps you rid your medicine cabinet from expired or unnecessary prescriptions.  These prescriptions, in the wrong hands, can be harmful and dangerous.  Participants can drop off prescription drugs with no questions asked and receive a $5.00 gift card to local stores and pharmacies. For information about when and where BSO will hold its next “take back” program, download the schedule and plan you drop off.

Take the time to secure your medicine cabinet against teenagers and children.  Having a teen overdose can be devastating.  How would you feel if he/she overdosed on your very own prescription?  Don’t take that chance.  Be proactive today!

For more information outside of Broward County, Florida, click here.

Watch video and read more on Examiner.