During the busy holiday season, Americans will welcome many friends, family members, and even strangers into their homes.
But most are unaware that the same people who are spending time with them in their homes are also spending time in their medicine cabinet.
Drug abusers look for every opportunity to get their fix, even if it means stealing from a holiday host. And even if the guests do not use drugs themselves, most prescription drugs can be sold for large amounts of money.
Either way, open medicine cabinets can be quite the temptation during the holidays.
Everyone should be conscious of safeguarding their prescription medicines all the time, but especially during the holidays when they are opening their home to visitors. Parents especially need to make sure no one is stuffing their stocking with prescription drugs that can be easily used and abused by whoever who can get their hands on them.
Teens and young adults are especially vulnerable to taking advantage of accessible medicine. According to safeguardmymeds.org 70 percent of people 12 years old and older who abused prescription pain relievers say they got them from a friend or relative.
Could that "friend or relative" be you?
The key to safeguarding medicines is to store them in a responsible manner. Locking a medicine cabinet or keeping prescription drugs hidden and out of sight is the first line of defense when it comes to making sure no one has access to the medicine in one's home.
Also, never give anyone drugs that were not prescribed to that person. No matter what pain or illness they describe, only a medical professional can a prescribe the right medicine for the right ailment for the right person.
It is also important to know if the drugs that have been prescribed for a family member or oneself have a high potential for being abused.
The U.S. government lists opioids (for pain), central nervous system (CNS) depressants (commonly used for for anxiety and sleep disorders), and stimulants (most often prescribed for ADHD and narcolepsy) as some of the most commonly abused classes of prescription drugs.