Preventing Prescription Drug Abuse
Abuse of prescription drugs is our country's fastest-growing drug problem, the source of which lurks far too often in our home medicine cabinets," says R. Gil Kerlikowske, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP).
Children five years old and younger accounted for 69 percent of visits made to the emergency room in 2008 for accidental ingestion of drugs, according to a new report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
One-third of medication poisonings in children are due to a grandparents medicine.
There are several reasons for this. First, older people are more likely to have both over the counter and prescription meds. Second, they are more likely to keep their meds in containers that are not child-resistant because of trouble opening the child-resistant caps. Also pills are often in plain sight in easily opened plastic pill minder boxes, or worse, decorative purse size pill containers.
Even though your grandchildren may not visit often, it is important to use child-resistant containers. If you use pill minder boxes to organize meds, get the child-resistant ones that have a button that must be pushed to flip up the lid.
In addition, dont leave your medications where children will see them. Put them in a high cabinet that is out of reach, or in a locked box with the key either hidden or in your possession at all times. Also do not leave bottle of meds in your purse, which is a magnet for children. Try to remember to keep your purse out of reach as well as keys and meds. The top of the refrigerator is a good option for keeping medications away from small children, who will put almost anything in their mouths, and young children who somehow always think they will find candy or gum in grandmas purse.
Parents should begin talking to children early about how they should never even handle a pill bottle. Only mommy or daddy or a designated person like a school nurse or grandparents should administer medications to a child.