Tis the season of giving, but as you invite family and friends into your home for holiday festivities, beware – for some, it is also the season for taking. According to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, most teens initially get prescription pills from family and friends, including straight from home medicine cabinets. And it’s not just teens.
Prescription drug abuse has become an epidemic in the United States. Deaths from prescription drug overdoses have become the second leading cause of accidental deaths nationwide, and the leading cause in as many as 15 states.
“Prescription pill abusers are no different than those that are addicted to illicit drugs like meth or heroin. They will go to great lengths to get their fix. I can’t stress enough the importance of safeguarding your medications,” says Lora Brown, MD, a Pain Management Physician and Medical Director for WAKE UP!, a community educational campaign created to combat the increase in prescription drug abuse among teenagers.
Brown says that you should always safeguard your medicine, but it’s especially important during the holidays when friends, family, neighbors and sometimes strangers are invited into our homes. Don’t discuss what medications you are taking with anyone but your medical or mental health team, and keep the medications in a secure place at all times. Often these medications are stolen from medicine cabinets and nightstands. Addicts have been known to break into homes where they suspect they can find meds, as well as assault someone who is in possession of the prescription medication they desire.
About WAKE UP!:
WAKE UP! is a community educational campaign established by The Pain Truth, a Florida 501(c)(3), to combat the increase in prescription drug abuse among teenagers. It is designed to use science, not scare tactics, to educate teenagers of the effects and dangers of prescription drugs. The program uses a school “takeover” approach to reach thousands of students and their families with an extended program designed to teach not preach about the dangers of abusing and misusing prescription drugs. This program is unique in many ways. One of the most important aspects is sustainability through a school-based CORE of students and educators that remain present and active long after the original campaign is complete.
Follow them on Twitter and use hashtag #WAKEUP