Prescription Drug Abuse

Why it might be time to check your medicine cabinet…

If you’ve heard the terms “opioid epidemic” and “prescription drug abuse” recently, you can look to the average household medicine cabinet for some answers. Here are some things to consider about medicine use in your home:

Are there children 25-years-old or younger living with you? The human brain can take up to 25 years to fully develop. All drugs of addiction engage our brain’s communication system, and when the brain isn’t yet developed, drugs can damage its ability to function properly. People younger than 25 are also the highest risk group for developing addiction.

Do you currently need the medicine? If not, ask your local pharmacy where to dispose of any over-the-counter medicines and leftover prescriptions. Expired medicines aren’t as effective, and medicine leftover from a prior illness is not safe to take again without a doctor’s advice. Never give a prescription to someone other than the intended patient.

Can someone help to keep track of your medicine use? If you have someone at home that you trust to track your pill use, it’s another set of eyes to recognize if you are over-medicating or experiencing a change in behavior. Those in recovery often express that their disorder started by taking too many painkillers after they injured their back and by the time they realized it, the addiction had taken hold. It is especially important to super-vise youth when medicating.

Do you know what is causing your symptoms? The U.S. healthcare sys-tem has been evaluated on their ability to manage patients’ pain for many years, which has trained many doctors to only assess and treat a patient’s pain. You may have to be the one to tell your provider that you are looking for more than just symptom relief.

Katelyn Regan, Renz Addiction Counseling Center

Info Corner

For prescription drop off locations and drug take-back days: