Step 2 of 5: Secure your Medicine Chest

The American Medicine Chest Challenge National Day of Awareness was met with great success last Saturday. We couldn’t be happier with the response we received, but it’s important to remember that the National Day of Awareness is merely the conversation starter. Now it’s all about how we finish it.  Last week, we started a 5 part series on the American Medicine Chest Challenge 5 Steps. The 5 Steps are designed to make your home a prescription drug safe environment and take yourself off the prescription drug abuse “map”.

The next step in our 5 week journey is to secure your medicine chest. The word “secure” can take on many meanings in this scenario, but the basic idea is to make sure that your medicines are not easily accessible to your children or guests.  For some, this may mean that the medicine cabinet will remain under lock and key until something is needed out of it. For others, this means that your medicine is taken out of the bathroom and stored in a bedroom, away from public traffic.

                                                       

                                                        Image credit: howstuffworks.com

This step actually helps to address two major household dangers. Securing the medicine chest stops kids or guests from accessing, experimenting and abusing these medicines. Also, this stops younger children, who might mistaken medication for candy and accidently take some, causing a potentially fatal accident.  According to OTCSafety.com, nearly 60,000 children a year are admitted to the emergency room for accidently eating pills that were left out in the open.

Taking this step doesn't just protect your medication from your kids, it can also stop houseguests, welcomed and unwelcomed, from stealing them as well. In fact, according to the Arizona Association of Realtors, “It must be remembered that an open house is an invitation for others to enter the home, regardless of their motives.  One of the most commonly stolen items during an open house is prescription medications.  While medications may not immediately come to mind as a valuable possession, thieves and addicts target prescriptions either for personal use or resale.  Sellers should therefore remove medications from plain sight, drawers and cabinets.” 

Babysitters, friends, and extended family may also look at your medicine chest as a means to get their hands on prescription drugs. Securing your medicine chest not only keeps your family safe, but all those who come into your home as well.

Nearly half of all teens say that prescription drugs are considerably easier to get than illicit drugs. This is one of the main reasons why prescription drug abuse has become such a problem in this country. In the past we have likened people with unsecured medicine chests to being unsuspecting drug dealers without ever knowing it. Take yourself out of business.  Secure your medicine chest.

Tune in next week for Step 3: Disposing of unused, unwanted, or expired medications.

For more information on how to secure your medicine chest, visit OTCsafety.org for tips and tricks

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