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This is a tough topic but one that needs to be discussed - how to reduce the likelihood of prescription drug abuse within your community. Yes, illegal drugs are a big problem in today's society and I know this it is a problem in my very own hometown. However, prescription pills, pain pills, opioids and the abuse of everyday drugs in our home are also a big problem within circles of people that you would not expect. I am excited to partner with LifeInCheck to spread the word about where to deposit leftover prescription drugs. Click here to visit the website to learn more and to find a LifeInCheck Drug Disposal Location near you.
While I make dinner, I turn on the national news and there is always a story on about the opioid problem in our country. More close to home, I see arrests in the paper regarding drugs on pretty much a daily basis. It is so incredibly sad, yes, that is true. However, we need to protect ourselves and our loved ones - especially our kids. We have an obligation to be responsible when it comes to drugs.
The biggest mistake when it comes to drugs is assuming that they are not around a certain community or neighborhood. I am no expert in drug addiction. No expert at all. I am just a woman and a mom trying to keep herself and her kiddos safe and healthy. I love to educate myself on new topics.
Here are my non-expert tips on how to prevent reduce the likelihood of prescription drug abuse within your community:
- Be alert. Drug activity happens in the best of neighborhoods and in circles of people that you would not expect. Be alert and be aware when you notice activity that doesn't seem "normal." Know your neighborhood, your kids school, your circle of parents that you talk to and be aware when something seems off.
- Talk to others and learn. Learn the normal happenings of your neighborhood to help you to know when something is wrong or different. Inform yourself about the crimes in your area. Look online or in the local paper to follow criminal activity near you. Contact the local police department to see if they are able to provide you with crime statistics.
- Organize or join a neighborhood watch. If your neighborhood doesn't have a neighborhood watch, consider starting one. These programs organize communities to work together with local police to manage crime in their areas.
- Improve street lighting in your neighborhood. If you feel like your neighborhood does not have sufficient lighting, talk to local police and find a way to fix this problem.
- Consider outside cameras. Cameras work best to deter criminals when there are a sufficient number of them which are visible.
- Stay busy with healthy activities. I am a big believer of "crowding out the bad." When we surround ourselves with good influences we are much more likely to not participate in things that are not good for us. Focus on the good - eating well, exercise, creative activities, healthy hobbies, etc. If you feel good about yourself and you feel great, you are going to be less likely to give in to unhealthy habits. Exercise is so important for mental and physical health - aim for 10K steps a day!
- Educate children at a young age. Kids know more than we think. Have talks with them at a young age about illegal drug use as well as prescription drug abuse. It is always better to hear these truths from parents.
- Schedule time to talk. Put this date on your calendar and schedule a conversation with your kids - Saturday, April 27th 2019 is National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. Make a point to talk to your kids on this day. If these talks are on your calendar, they are much more likely to actually happen.
- Show kids where leftover prescription drugs are meant to go. Tell your kids that there are "special places" where unused medications are supposed to go. Unfortunately, the way people dispose of unused medications today takes many forms, from flushing down the toilet or pouring in the drain, to throwing in the garbage, or worse. More often than not, the end result is damage to our environment, drug diversion or the drug being abused by others. In an effort to assist in reducing these issues and bringing awareness to the massive opioid crisis that is plaguing many families, LifeInCheck created a Drug Disposal program that provides consumers with a safe option to discard their unused or outdated prescription medications in secure receptacles located across the US. Once you visit the website, simply enter in your City and State or Zip Code and the closest receptacle will be listed. It is really easy!
Check out the photos below to see examples of the LifeInCheck Drug Disposal receptacles. My local Pittsburgh area readers, I checked out the LifeInCheck Consumer Drug Take-Back receptacle in Canonsburg Hospital. As soon as I walked in to the main lobby the receptacle was right there. Here I am disposing of expired pet medication - yes, even pet medication needs to be disposed of properly.
Some alarming statistics:
- 192 Americans die every day from a drug overdose - CDC.gov
- 83% of people who misuse prescription pain relievers including opioids get them from a friend or relative - SAMSHSA.gov
- 46 million Americans are exposed to trace amounts of medications in their drinking water - Associated Press
How to use the Drug Disposal Receptacle:
- Pull to open drawer
- Place medications inside
- Close the drawer
Discreet, safe, and responsible drug disposal is critical in the fight against the opioid crisis.
Together, we can make our communities and circle of friends a healthier and safer space. If you feel comfortable, please comment below and share how the opioid crisis has affected your family or community.
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