There could be a “chest of goodies” unbeknownst to you in your home. We put our unfinished medications in our medicine cabinets and forget about them leaving them to be found by others. We buy multiple cold medications and leave them above our sinks for the next cold. These medications can be just what someone else is looking for. It is a scary truth. There are some out there that will double check your medicine cabinet for you.
What Medications Should I Look Out For?
You should keep an eye on both of your prescribed medications and the ones you buy over the counter (OTC). There are certain ingredients in over the counter medications that when taken in high does create a high-like state and cause hallucinations. Dextromethorphan is an ingredient found in common OTC cold medicines.
Medicines like Robitussin DM and NyQuil have this ingredient. Teens call the high you get from Robitussin DM “Robotripping”. This is dangerous because this ingredient was never made to be taken in high doses. It can cause nausea, vomiting, rapid heart beat, and in rare cases brain damage. Prolonged abuse to cold medications can actually decrease their effectiveness when an abuser actually comes down with a cold.
Keep a watchful eye on all prescribed medications. Sleep aid medications, anxiety medications, pain pills, are all extremely addictive. If you and your doctor have found you need these- keep them in a safe place. Teenagers know what to look for.
The thought that a teenager would want your Ambien (prescription sleep aid) may seem odd, but it is not. Keep your prescriptions in a safe place. You need to keep a watchful eye on other prescriptions in your house, as well. Prescriptions for children like Adderall and Ritalin are also sought out by drug users. If one of your children gets a prescription like this, talk to your other children about this drug. Let them know it is there only for one purpose. It is there to help their sibling and that is all.
Things You Can Do
Keeping medications out of reach is the best way to ensure they are not taken by someone else. There are a few more tips that can help you keep your home a safe place.
- Teach your children/ teens about medication safety. Explain that the medications are only to be taken by a doctor’s order. Do not tell children the medicine tastes like candy to get them to take it. Explain that this medicine will help with their cold. Tell them with rest and the medicine will help them feel better.
- Always double check that the child safety is locked. Keep turning the top of the bottle until you hear that click.
- Ask house guests or visitors coming into your home that if they do have medications in their purse or coats to keep it in a safe place. Simply ask to keep those medications out of sight.
- Talk to your teens about drugs and alcohol. At an appropriate time, share your knowledge about the dangers of partying. Talk about the consequences of drugs and alcohol. Talk to them about how partying can lead to addiction.
According to the Center of Disease Control, 82 percent of American adults take at least one medication and 29 percent take five or more medications. It is incredibly important to discuss medication safety to children at an early age because of the abundance of drugs in households.
Addictions at Earlier Ages
Kids and teens are experimenting with drugs and alcohol at earlier ages. Environmental factors play a big role in this. A parent’s attitude plays a role in how a child may react in important situations. Kids and teens need to learn that addiction can happen to anyone. What can start out as “just having fun” or “partying” can take a deadly turn in a moment. Do not be afraid to have difficult conversations.
If there is one thing that we can learn from the opioid epidemic is that we need to educate ourselves and our children. Educating ourselves and having difficult conversations are important preventative steps. As much as we don’t want to think about it, children can get access to drugs and alcohol. Experimenting with drugs and alcohol at an early age puts those kids at a higher risk to become addicts and alcoholics. Addiction is preventable. A great place to start is to double check your own medicine cabinet.