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Dear Editor:

As season’s change and the inevitable urge to clean occurs - Prevention First reminds you to add your medicine cabinet to your list of chores! This potentially may save the life of a young person seeking to experiment with prescription drugs to get high.  Your own health will be safe-guarded as well, since outdated prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs lose their effectiveness.

A recent federal survey found that 1 in 5 Americans older than 12 reported non-medical use of prescription pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants or sedatives at some point in their lifetimes.  The same survey found nearly 7 million people had used those same psychotherapeutic drugs for non-medical purposes over the past month.    Prescription medications are second only to marijuana in the drug of choice among teenage users.  One in five teens reports abusing prescription medication and a third of these teens don’t think these seductive drugs are addictive.

The most effective way to address the issue of prescription drug abuse is through prevention.  This includes working to minimize and control access to these drugs.  Here’s what you can do:

  • Monitor and secure your medicine cabinet – know what’s in there and keep track of it – get rid of the expired medications
  • Monitor all medications your children are taking – an adult, such as a parent or school nurse should administer your child’s medication
  • Educate yourself and talk to your kids – many kids don’t believe a prescription drug can be addictive or dangerous – they are both!

What’s the best way to dispose of these drugs?  Don’t flush them – that simply puts them into our water supply.  Instead, take them out of the original container and mix them with an undesirable substance, such as used coffee grounds or kitty litter.  Put them in impermeable, non-descript containers such as empty cans or sealable bags and throw them in the trash.

For more information contact Prevention First at 732-663-1800 ext. 216.

It takes less than an hour to go through your medicine cabinet – it could save someone’s life – won’t you take the time?



Mary Pat Angelini

Executive Director & CEO
Prevention First
Ocean, NJ

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