If you think the drug abuse problem starts on the streets, you’re wrong. Prescription drug use is rising to immense proportions all over Western societies.
According to the National Survey on Drugs and Health, over 6 million Americans abuse prescription drugs. Needless to say, much of the abuse starts at home.
Here are 7 strategies to help you prevent the prescription drug abuse at home.
- Keep medications in a place that is hard to reach
Remember to store your medications in an area out of children’s reach. It’s best to use a cabinet you can lock. Be sure to ask your pharmacist whether they can provide you with a medication bottle that has a child-resistant cap.
- Follow directions carefully
Always use your medication following the way in which was prescribed. Don’t stop or change the dose of the drug if you feel it’s not working properly. For example, if you’re taking a painkiller that doesn’t have any impact on your pain, don’t take more of the drug and reach out to your doctor or pharmacist instead.
- Avoid ordering prescriptions online
Unless you’re dealing with a trustworthy pharmacy, don’t order prescriptions online. Some websites might sell counterfeit prescriptions and nonprescription drugs that could be dangerous to your health.
In general, you should try to keep all your prescriptions at one pharmacy. In this case, you can easily arrange a regular drug review that automatically measures all the medication dosage prescribed for you. You can also communicate new or discontinued medications with all your healthcare providers immediately. Preventing drug interactions will also be easier this way.
- Don’t keep medication for the next time
If your prescription is complete and the condition is treated, you should dispose of the leftover drugs. Never keep the medication for potential use in the future.
Expired or unused prescription medication needs to be properly disposed. That’s how you decrease the opportunity for your children or their friends to abuse this medication.
If disposal instructions are provided on the label, be sure to follow them. Otherwise, remove the medication from its original container, mix it with a substance such as used coffee, saw dust, or kitty litter, and place in a plastic bag to be disposed in the trash.
- Never share your medication
When it comes to prescription drugs, you can be sure that a specific drug is meant to work only for the person to whom it was prescribed. Sharing your medication with other people might be too dangerous because of drug interactions and serious side effects. Medication is prescribed for a specific person on the basis of their age, weight, and medical condition. That’s why you should never take medication that was prescribed for someone else.
In addition, when you take medication that was not prescribed for you, no health provider is involved to review potential drug interactions or safety considering your medical condition. That’s why taking someone else’s prescription drug is so risky.
- Take food and beverage drug interactions seriously
You would be surprised to learn how food items might be involved in drug interactions. For example, foods that are rich in vitamin K might interact with certain blood thinners and make them less active, possibly leading to blood clots.
Citrus juices like grapefruit are known for changing the effects of some drugs as well. Calcium can also bind some drugs and prevent their absorption. When a pharmacist or doctor asks you about foods or drinks you consume, take this question seriously and share all information about your diet.
- Always tell your doctor about caffeine, alcohol, or illegal drug use
Some drugs cannot be combined with coffee, because they might interfere with your sleep patterns or lead to a rapid heart rate that can be dangerous if you’re suffering from cardiovascular diseases.
Alcohol, on the other hand, can cause drowsiness, especially when mixed with specific medication. Never combine alcohol with opioid painkillers. Be sure to tell your doctor about your habits to prevent any dangerous interactions with the medication you take.
More than 70% of people who use prescription painkillers are able to illegally obtain them from family and friends.
Follow these 7 strategies and you will be on your way to ensuring the proper use of prescribed drugs and prevent prescription drug abuse at home.
David Beeshaw is a blogger who dedicates his time and efforts to helping others fight STIs and HIV. Interested in leading a healthy lifestyle, David is currently supporting Dominika Rejmer and raTrust, a non-profit STI and HIV prevention organization.