Stamford, CT - October 19, 2010
Unused and easily accessible medicines have the potential to be misused and abused by anyone entering a home—including teens and young adults.
Actress and parent advocate Catherine Hicks is making a national appeal to Americans to take
personal responsibility for properly storing and disposing of prescription medicines to help
prevent them from falling into the wrong hands. Hicks has joined forces with the National
Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) and Purdue Pharma L.P. to launch Safeguard My
Meds, a new education initiative that offers information about simple yet important steps that
can be taken in the home to protect prescription medicine.
A new national survey shows that while an overwhelming majority of Americans (94%) say that
it is extremely or very important to safely store and dispose of prescription medicine, many may
not be doing everything they can to protect their medicines.2 More than two-thirds (68%) of
those surveyed indicated that they keep prescription medicine in an unlocked cabinet, closet or
drawer in their household.2 Respondents most frequently said they store prescription medicine
in the bathroom (53%) and kitchen (49%)—two potentially vulnerable, high-traffic areas where
unsecured medications could be accessed by anyone entering the home.2
"As the parent of a teenager, I know how important this issue is. Every day, more than 2,500
teenagers abuse prescription medicine for the first time3, and they often don’t even need to
leave the house to find medicine to abuse," noted Hicks. "When we keep prescription medicine
in our homes, we have a personal responsibility to safeguard that medicine. We can all make a
difference by storing and disposing of our medicine in the right way."
Government statistics show that 70% of people age 12 and older who abused prescription pain
relievers say they got them from a friend or relative.1 One in five U.S. high school students say
they have abused a prescription medicine at least once in their lives.4
"When used as directed, prescription medicines play an important role in treating a wide range
of medical conditions. Patients must have access to prescription medicine, but with that access
comes responsibility," said Keith Hodges, RPh, of the National Community Pharmacists
Association. "Through the Safeguard My Meds campaign, we hope that more Americans will
understand how critical it is to safely store their medicines in their homes."
Hicks, NCPA and Purdue want the public to know there are many ways to safeguard prescription medicines. For instance, medicines at greater risk of being abused—such as pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants and depressants—should be kept in locked storage containers. These medicines are targets for theft, so extra precautions should be taken. Other measures include taking an inventory of prescription medicines in the home at least twice a year; storing medicines in a cool, dry place out of the reach of children and pets; and never sharing prescription medicine with anyone else. October is American Pharmacists Month and a great time to ask your community pharmacist about your prescription drugs. As medication experts, community pharmacists can help patients get the most benefit from their medicine and can help ensure safe and proper handling of medications, from dispensing to disposal.
Information on safe medicine storage, along with a variety of downloadable print, video and online materials with valuable tips can be found at www.SafeguardMyMeds.org. Visitors to the site can also take the Personal Responsibility Pledge and make a commitment to safeguard their prescription medicine and help keep it out of the wrong hands.
About the Survey
The survey was conducted by Opinion Research Corporation—Infogroup/ORC, a national research firm on behalf of the National Community Pharmacists Association and Purdue Pharma to assess knowledge and behavior about prescription medicine safety and disposal. Telephone interviews among a projectable national sample of 1,010 adults, including 503 men and 507 women 18 years of age and older, living in private households in the continental United States, were conducted between August 27-30, 2010. The margin of error for results based on the entire sample of 1,010 is plus or minus three percentage points.
The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA®) represents America's community pharmacists, including the owners of more than 22,700 independent community pharmacies, pharmacy franchises, and chains. Together they represent an $88 billion health-care marketplace, employ over 65,000 pharmacists, and dispense over 40% of all retail prescriptions. To learn more go to www.ncpanet.org or read NCPA's blog, The Dose, at http://ncpanet.wordpress.com.
Purdue Pharma L.P. and its associated U.S. companies are privately-held pharmaceutical companies known for pioneering research on pain. Headquartered in Stamford, CT, Purdue Pharma is engaged in the research, development, production, and distribution of both prescription and over-the-counter medicine and hospital products. Additional information about Purdue can be found at www.purduepharma.com.
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