When prescription painkillers fall into the wrong hands, they can be life-changing. Painkillers are extremely addictive and deadly when abused. Many instances of opiate addiction in young adults starts in our own homes. When they find prescription painkillers in their parents medicine cabinets, they are easily accessible and taken recreationally. Many kids in school are pressuring other friends to look for these medications in their parents cabinets so they can share them together.
Prescription painkillers should be treated like poison. For those that they are not prescribed, they are extremely harmful when abused. Opiates are also worth a lot of money on the street, so addicts are always on the lookout for some. If you have teenagers, they face a lot of peer pressure from friends and classmates to use as well as provide them to others. If your child knows you are on painkillers for an ailment, they may tell their friends about it. Your child may be a good kid but one bad egg in their group of friends can convince them to steal some pills for them to try. All it takes is one pill to kill a child. Especially with the high-dosed Oxycontin timed release pills that pack 16 times the punch that one 5mg Oxycodone provides. Most teenagers are unaware of what they are ingesting and the whole scenario could be avoided if you lock your prescriptions up or take the unused pills to a designated drop off site.
Prescription painkillers should be locked in a safe, not simply placed in a medicine cabinet. Treat these medications as if you would treat a very dangerous chemical or an extremely valuable item. You would not keep them out in the open. Studies show that kids see these medications in their parents bathrooms and automatically think they are not so dangerous. They think that since their parents take it, it can't be that bad. This couldn't further from the truth. Oxycodone, hydrocodone, and other popular medications when abused are just as dangerous as heroin.
Many states and local authorities have created programs to help get rid of prescription painkillers that are not being used. Some people get prescribed a narcotic painkiller for a legit reason and may not finish the entire prescription. Often times the patient doesn't take all of these pills as the pain wasn't that bad or they didn't like the way they made them feel. Programs have been put into place to dispose of these medications correctly. You should never flush ANY type of prescription medication down the toilet. Studies have been done where samples of the drinking water have shown traces of prescription medications. Experts say that it is a result of flushing them into our sewage system.
Look for programs in your own town or city. Many local police departments and health departments hold prescription pill drop-off programs. On a given day on a weekend, they usually have a police officer or health professional available to take your old medications and destroy them safely. You can have the self assurance that your old medications were disposed of properly and kept out of reach of the wrong people.