Almost 70 percent of Americans Do Not Securely Store Prescription Medications
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - October 10, 2011
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 will be taking her message to the National Community Pharmacists Association's (NCPA) annual convention October 10, 2011. She will be available at the NCPA Pavilion from 2:30 - 3:30 p.m. to talk one-on-one with pharmacy staff about the Safeguard My Meds education initiative. Safeguard My Meds is a national educational program from NCPA and Purdue Pharma L.P. to increase awareness about the importance of safe storage and disposal of prescription medicine in an effort to reduce the risk of misuse and abuse.
"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 time, 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. One in five U.S. high school students say they have abused a prescription medicine at least once in their lives.
"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.
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. More information about Purdue's initiatives to help curb diversion and abuse is available at www.rxsafetymatters.org.
The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA®) represents the interests of America's community pharmacists, including the owners of more than 23,000 independent community pharmacies. Together they represent a $93 billion health care marketplace, dispense over 37% of all retail prescriptions, and employ more than 315,000 people, including 62,400 pharmacists. Independent community pharmacists are readily accessible medication experts who can help lower health care spending. They are committed to maximizing the appropriate use of lower-cost generic drugs and reducing the estimated $290 billion that is wasted annually by improper medication use. To learn more go to www.ncpanet.org or read NCPA's blog, The Dose, at http://ncpanet.wordpress.com.
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