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Posts Tagged ‘preventing drug use’

Is it time for Spring cleaning at your house? Here is a simple task you can do to prevent serious consequences. Open your medicine cabinet or cupboard and look for expired, unwanted, or unused prescription medications.  Now is the perfect time to dispose of them safely and easily. No, I do not mean to throw them down the toilet or put them in the trash.

The best solution for unused medications is to utilize a drug disposal kit or to drop them off at a collection site. April 24, 2021 is the Spring Drug Take Back Day.  I encourage you to locate unused medications in your home, find the collection site and drop off your unused prescription drugs.Drug Take Back Day  

Did you know that most abused prescription drugs come from family and friends, including from home medicine cabinets? Expired prescription medications are a public safety issue, leading to potential accidental poisoning, misuse, and overdose. Proper disposal of unused drugs saves lives and protects the environment. How many times do you hear about another overdose? The statistics are startling. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. has seen an increase in overdose deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic, with 83,544 Americans overdosing during the 12-month period ending July 1, 2020, the most ever recorded in a 12-month period.

I learned about a 22-year-old in my community who overdosed and died last week. His family buried him over the weekend. This story is all too familiar.

How can you help prevent drug addiction and overdose deaths?

Let’s explore this common scenario: you are a parent, grandparent or family member who had surgery a few months ago and in your medicine cabinet there are leftover pain killers. The surgery was months ago, and you haven’t thought about those medicines in your cabinet. You don’t need them, and they are just sitting there. BUT….. did you know that many teens get pain medication from a family member or friend? In fact, over 40% say they got the pain reliever they used most recently from a friend or relative for free.

Teen looking at meds in a medicine cabinetNow that you know the facts, work to be part of the solution!

  • Go to your cabinets and pull out the medications that you no longer need.
  • Find a safe drug take back site or utilize a drug disposal kit.
  • Properly dispose of unused medications.

Today is the day for you to take a step in the right direction and to help prevent drug addiction and overdose deaths. Who will join me in this fight? Share what you did in the comments.  

Writer: Michelle Treber, Ohio State University Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Pickaway County, treber.1@osu.edu

Reviewer: Lorrissa Dunfee, Ohio State University Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Belmont County, dunfee.54@osu.edu

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It is no secret that drug abuse is running rampant in Middle America. Over half a million Americans die every year from overdoses, accidents, illness, or other poor choices. I live in southern Ohio, an area that has been over whelmed with the opiate epidemic. I recently had the opportunity to attend an “Ohio State University Conversation on the Opioid Crisis” where I learned some things that we can all do to prevent the spread of drug abuse in our own communities. Here are a few things you can do to prevent drug use: family-eating

  • Have regular discussions with your children about the risks of drugs and alcohol. These discussions have been shown to result in a 50% reduction in use (Who knew?).  Be consistent, talk about the law, listen to what your children have to say, and control your emotions as you talk with them.
  • Have dinner together as a family – four or more times per week if possible. Research shows that teens who eat meals with their family are less likely to try tobacco, marijuana, alcohol, and other drugs. Use mealtime as a chance to find out what your children are up to, who their friends are, what is going on at school, and to encourage improving grades and school work. Make conversation at mealtime positive and encouraging. Turn off the TV, put cell phones away, and take out earbuds so everyone can talk and listen.  (As a side benefit, if you prepare some of these meals together you will save money and teach your children to cook.)
  • Encourage children to be involved in extracurricular activities – sports, music, church activities, 4-H, Scouts, clubs, or volunteering. Not only should you encourage your child to be busy doing positive activities, but know where they are, who they are with, and when they will be home.
  • Decrease opportunities for exposure to addictive substances. Keep medication where children won’t happen upon it. When you finish taking the pain medication you were given after surgery, dispose of any that is left. Discuss this with older family members as well.  Literacy about medications and medication safety is key.
  • Set an example for children. Use prescription drugs properly, don’t use illegal drugs, never drink and drive, and if you drink, drink in moderation. If you used drugs in the past, explain the problems that it may have caused for you or other family members. Discuss why you wouldn’t choose to do drugs now.
  • Remember you are the parent! Monitor your child’s TV and Internet viewing, games they are playing, music they are listening to or purchasing, maintain a curfew, make sure adults are present when teens are hanging out and check in with them when they get home from school, and keep track of their school work (they give us access to those grades on the Internet for a reason). Recognize children for the positives – did they raise a grade, achieve a PR (personal best) in running or swimming, or finish all their chores without nagging? If they did, let them select the Sunday lunch meal, the movie you are watching together, or a new game to play together.

Parents and grandparents can have a powerful influence on protecting children from drug use and abuse. Take advantage of opportunities to talk about the risks of drugs and alcohol, and set an example for your own children and their friends. Volunteer to drive your child and their friends/teammates to events, or allow your child to invite a friend for family dinner on the weekend. When you have these opportunities – ask questions and listen, without criticism.

Sources:

Drug Free New Hampshire, http://drugfreenh.org/families

Start Talking Ohio, http://www.starttalking.ohio.gov/

National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, http://www.centeronaddiction.org/

United States Food and Drug Administration, How to Dispose of Unused Drugs, http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm101653.htm

National Institute of Health, National Institute on Drug Abuse, https://easyread.drugabuse.gov/sites/default/files/EasyToRead_PreventDrugUse_012017.pdf

Writer: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Science, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County, barlage.7@osu.edu.

Reviewer: James Bates, Assistant Professor/Field Specialist, Family Wellness, Ohio State University Extension, bates.402@osu.edu.

 

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